The Clink Charity is to open a new café in central Manchester, and sees potential to expand the concept if successful.

Opening on Chepstow Street in Grade II listed Canada House, in mid-April, the 65-seater café “was really borne out of our success with Clink Events” (its catering project), Chris Moore, chief executive of The Clink Charity, told MCA.

“It worked so well that LJ Real Estate approached us with a property in Manchester and said they would like us to be involved - they would build a café and would like us to operate it,” he said. While the café arose out of an opportunity that was offered to the charity, Moore said if it works he “sees no reason why we wouldn’t be rolling this concept out”.

The café will focus on training Clink Graduates and homeless clients of the Centrepoint Charity to gain their accredited City and Guilds NVQ level 2 in Food and Beverage Service as well as Barista skills. In addition to qualifications, and just as importantly, they will be gaining soft skills, said Moore. “They are getting up, working an eight hour day, learning to work as part of a team, gaining confidence, motivation and pride, and we really watch them grow as individuals, which is great,” he said.

“We are taking people who have struggled in life, whether they are homeless, have a criminal record, or are a serving prisoner, and training them up to gain City and Guilds NVQs,” explained Moore. “Once they have finished the programme we will help them find jobs in the hospitality sector in the centre of Manchester.”

He added that the charity was “very much” looking to expand the restaurant concept – it already has four The Clink Restaurants – as well as the other arms of the charity: Clink Events and The Clink Gardens, and was looking at opportunities across the UK. “We are eight years in, we know that it works. In order to change lives we need more Clink concepts,” he said.

The Clink Café will offer a range of food and drink, including cakes, pastries and salads, with the coffee on offer roasted by prisoners at Aylesbury prison via another project called Redemption Roasters. The site is home to a number of local businesses, with around 600 employees working in the building, and will also be open to the general public.