When it comes to sustainability, there are two things to consider: making choices that benefit the environment, and the human populace, too.
Homelessness is already a very real problem – since 2010, the number of people sleeping rough in the England on any given night has doubled to more than 3,500 people, based on information from the Department for Communities and Local Government.
StreetSmart is a charity that aims to tackle this crisis head-on, with an annual fundraising initiative that takes place in participating restaurants every November and December. A voluntary £1 per table is added to diners' bills, with the money raised supporting projects near the restaurant where the donations are made. It aims to provide comfort and hope to those in crisis with nowhere to call home, and enable homeless people to rebuild their lives.
The charity launched in 1998 and has raised £7.9 million, all from £1 donations; last year, £512,600 was raised from 525 participating restaurants. It operates in 22 UK cities and regions, and currently helps fund more than 70 projects across the UK.
Last year the top earners for StreetSmart included the restaurant groups Harvey Nichols, MEATliquor and Polpo.
Nick Jarman, General Manager at OXO Bar, Brasserie & Restaurant, says, "We're pleased to be partnering with StreetSmart this year. OXO has supported the campaign since it began in 1998 and our customers have helped to raise over £7.9 million for the homeless. We're very proud to be part of the initiative."
100% of all the funds raised goes to support local projects StreetSmart takes nothing in administration. This is made possible by the support of Deutsche Bank, the charity's sponsor, which pays all the costs associated with running the campaign.
StreetSmart's simple but effective way of working has garnered support from a number of names not only from within the industry, but also from the likes of Stephen Fry. "I have no hesitation in supporting and recommending the work of charity StreetSmart," Fry says, "which is low in bureaucracy and high on delivering where help is needed. We may not be able to solve the question of homelessness but at least by doing something we, in some way, diminish its tyranny."
Elsewhere, Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Marcus Wareing described the initiative as "a fabulous charity that remembers the homeless at a time of year when we should be thinking of others."
You can do your bit by dining at restaurants like Nobu, Gymkhana, Coq d'Argent and The Botanist, who are participating in the initiative during November and December. Your £1 donation will go towards helping the homeless at this crucial time. You'll know a restaurant is involved if there's a StreetSmart card on your table when you dine.
For a list of restaurants, visit streetsmart.org.uk. For news and updates, follow StreetSmart on Twitter at @TweetSmartTwo.