Northampton business donates £1,000 to revamp training kitchen for ex-homeless people

L-R: Barclays employee Ahmet Ali, chief executive of Northampton Hope Group Robin Burgess and Dean Lynes.
L-R: Barclays employee Ahmet Ali, chief executive of Northampton Hope Group Robin Burgess and Dean Lynes.

Barclays HQ in Northampton has donated £1,000 to help renovate a former soup kitchen to give ex-homeless people opportunities to train in catering.

A team of 30 staff members from Barclays bank in Brackmills Industrial Estate picked up a paintbrush for three days this week to redecorate the old Northampton Soup kitchen in Ash Street.

The project will be used by social enterprise Hope Catering - the commercial arm of the Hope Centre - to support ex-homeless people and people who have been long-term unemployed, by providing work and opportunities to excel in catering.

Fraud investigator at Barclays Ahmet Ali co-ordinated the volunteer project. He said: "This is something Barclays is really passionate about - over the years we have always worked closely with local charities and in particular the Hope Centre.

"We were aware this project has been ongoing for a while but needed support in terms of funding and volunteers, which is where we were able to lend a hand.

"We're very pleased to help with this project and excited for the kitchen to be opened."

The catering organisation, with an operational budget of £60,000 for this conversion project, has already been established for eight years but is based in out-of-town Moulton Park Industrial Estate.

Chief executive of Northampton Hope Group Robin Burgess said being able to use this new building will make it easier for people who live in the town to get into work.

He said: "By being closer to where most of our clients live, and accessible from the bus station, we can help even more people who have suffered long-term unemployment back to work in catering."

When the project opens, staff on site will take on about 60 people within one year to cater for functions, staff meetings, and parties.

The project, which is still under renovation, is set to open within the next month.