Customers at some of Birmingham’s top restaurants are being encouraged to help the homeless when they dine out in the run-up to Christmas.
The annual StreetSmart campaign, supported by the Birmingham Post, calls on people to add £1 to their bills with all the proceeds being donated to charity. Last year, StreetSmart raised £455,000 in the UK and £4,000 in Birmingham, where the cash was distributed to projects that help the homeless. All the money raised in city restaurants is spent locally and this year’s beneficiaries will again be St Basils, which offers accommodation and services to 16 to 25-year-olds, and SIFA Fireside, which offers warm meals, drop-in help, resettlement support and advice with tackling alcohol abuse.
The money-spinning drive, which is voluntary, runs until December 31 and the participating restaurants are: Aria at the Hyatt Regency; Opus in Cornwall Street; Edmunds, Brindleyplace; Simpsons, Edgbaston; Nathaniels, Moseley; and both the Circle and Stage Side restaurants at Birmingham Hippodrome.
The Vaults, in Newhall Hill, is hosting a special evening on Friday, November 12, when it will loan its private booths in exchange for donations. StreetSmart has raised £4.2 million since it was launch in 1998 and now works with more than 90 charities. Groups receive between £500 and £15,000, depending on the scheme earmarked for financial assistance.
St Basils plans to use this year’s proceeds to fund its Learning Skills and Work programme, which aims to prevent homelessness by increasing young people’s confidence and skills.
SIFA Fireside, which is based in Lower Essex Street, near the Bullring, plans to use donations for its volunteering scheme. The six-month structured programme provides support and training to help people, with a background of homelessness, to move back into society.
Cath Gilliver, Fireside chief executive, said: “In these challenging times it’s even more vital to ensure our clients have opportunities to progress and we’re grateful to the restaurants and their customers.’’