The reluctance of Birmingham restaurants to support a Christmas campaign helping the homeless has been labelled "embarrassing" by the charity it is designed to support.
The Streetsmart scheme allows restaurants across the country to add a voluntary £1 to each table's bill throughout November and December, with funds raised in Birmingham going to Digbeth youth homelessness charity St Basils.
But while 300 restaurants have signed up in London, the second city has seen just ten take up the scheme, leaving Birmingham with its vibrant food scene also lagging behind Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Newcastle.
Gary Aymes has supported StreetSmart for the last three years as director of hospitality and service at Birmingham Hippodrome.
After only eight city restaurants took up the scheme last Christmas, he sent out a rallying cry this year, saying: "Rather embarrassingly there were only eight restaurants, including Birmingham Hippodrome's two, that participated in this worthy cause last year, while Manchester had 18 and London over 300.
"St Basils only received £4,000 out of a national total of £610,000. We need to do better for Birmingham!"
All funds raised in Birmingham go to St Basils which supports young people facing homelessness in and around the city.
It costs nothing to sign up to the scheme and restaurants that haven't already committed are being urged to trial it throughout December.
Birmingham's most recent Michelin-star chef, Adam Stokes, has brought StreetSmart to his eponymous restaurant in Bennett's Hill for the second year.
He said: "It's coming to that time of year again when it's very cold and there are people out there in Birmingham who need our help.
"This is a charity that can support those people and we want to do anything we can to help them.
"People are coming to restaurants and spending a lot of money but there are people out there who can't even afford to make themselves a sandwich.
"We are so far away from that other end of the spectrum and this is the least we can do."
Money raised by diners this Christmas will support St Basils Learning, Skills and Work Programme, helping young people to move on successfully with careers guidance, work placements and apprenticeships.
St Basils fundraising officer Anne Morton said: "The more restaurants we can get on board, the bigger the chance that other Birmingham charities can also have a crack at this.
"When you look at other cities taking part, it's embarrassing that Birmingham has the reluctance it has.
"It's one pound added to the table's bill – not even one pound per person – and every penny in that pound goes to the charity with funds raised in Birmingham staying in Birmingham."
She added: "One of the problems we have is that people see St Basils as a small, local charity running out of a church, but over the last 40 years we've grown a lot. We can now help 5,000 young people in just one year."
Restaurateurs can find out more about the scheme by emailing anne.Morton@stbasils.org.uk or calling 0121 772 9619.
The 10 restaurants taking part
Adam’s in Bennetts’s Hill
Café Opus at the Ikon Gallery
Carter’s of Moseley in Wake Green Road
The Circle Restaurant at The Birmingham Hippodrome
Le Monde Fish Bar And Grill in Brindleyplace
The Plough in Harborne
Restaurant VMF at Villa Park
Simpsons in Edgbaston
StageSide at The Birmingham Hippodrome
Water’s on the Square in Edgbaston