For over 30 years, Pret has supported homeless people by giving away unsold food to shelters across the country, with over 3 million items donated annually. Last year marked the 10-year anniversary of the Rising Stars programme, dedicated to providing career opportunities to the ex-homeless. These initiatives are managed by the Pret Foundation, an internationally registered charity set up with the singular goal to break the cycle of homelessness.
The Pret House at WLM St. Luke’s takes this one step further through a partnership that provides accommodation, employment and access to advice to help homeless people transition into the private rented market.
The Pret House in London where almost a third of the UK’s rough sleepers live will accommodate up to 13 people at a time. They will live there for 6-12 months before moving into a privately rented home. The ambition is to help at least 20 ex-homeless people off the streets by the end of the year, through this initiative.
WLM is a charity empowering people affected by homelessness, poverty and trauma to make positive changes in their lives. It will focus on financial resilience, providing accommodation and support, with residents paying rent monthly at an affordable rate relative to their wages. Each resident will have their own room and will receive advice from WLM on how to get a bank account, save for a deposit, as well as develop wider literacy and computer skills. They will also join the Rising Stars programme, working in Pret shops nearby.
FAST FACTS ABOUT THE PRET FOUNDATION- Pret has been donating unsold food to the homeless since it opened its first shop in 1986. What started out as a handful of sandwiches has grown to over 3 million meals across the UK every year.
- The Pret Foundation has supported 462 Rising Stars over the past 10 years.
- Almost 80% of Rising Stars graduate from the programme to become full-time Pret Team Members, while others have gone on to build careers beyond Pret, eg one is now a full-time professional wrestler, another a chef.
- The Pret Foundation supports over 60 charities in the UK in communities local to Pret shops. Besides donating money, the Pret Foundation provides everything from showers and sleeping bags to food shopping and chefs.
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and author of 11 books. My byline appears in national and regional newspapers and magazines. See website gillypickup.co.uk