Wakefield retaurants sign up to help the homeless

Wakefield Rent Deposit Scheme has launched 'Streetsmart' - a campaign to help the city's homeless by seeing restaurants putting a �1 (one pound) levy onto food bills, which will go to supporting the homeless. Pictured L to R) Owner of The Cowshed restaurant Robert Silvestri, Michael Hewitt and Ben Aldam. w315a345
Wakefield Rent Deposit Scheme has launched 'Streetsmart' - a campaign to help the city's homeless by seeing restaurants putting a �1 (one pound) levy onto food bills, which will go to supporting the homeless. Pictured L to R) Owner of The Cowshed restaurant Robert Silvestri, Michael Hewitt and Ben Aldam. w315a345

Restaurant customers can help the homeless while tucking into a meal after a voluntary donations scheme was launched.

Eateries have signed up with Streetsmart, a charity which places a £1 levy on bills to help orgnaisations working with a the city’s growing number of homeless people.

The Cowshed and Bella Roma, on Northgate, Smokehouse, on Wood Street, and Capri, on Bridge Road in Horbury, have signed up to the scheme, which be open to donations in the run-up to Christmas.

Wakefield Rent Deposit Scheme is one of the organisations set to use the cash.

Project officer Ben Aldam said: “The money goes to homeless charities in the Wakefield area.

“It could be helping people who have moved into accommodation buy things like pots and pans, or blankets and sleeping bags for rough sleepers.

“With benefits being frozen, rising energy prices and food going up people are feeling the squeeze at the moment.”

Participating restaurants will ask bill payers if they wish to contribute £1 or more to the scheme or opt out.

Michael Hewitt, manager of Smokehouse, said: “If you are sitting in a restaurant in the warmth eating a meal you may not realise that 20 yards away somebody could be sitting there freezing. It is heartbreaking that homelessness is going up and up.

“If you are spending £50 or £60 on a meal an extra £1 goes a long way.”

Robert Silvestri, owner of the Cowshed, said: “It’s a great cause and the great thing is the money goes to help the local homeless.”

Around 500 restaurants UK-wide have signed up to Streetsmart, which collects donations in November and December every year.

It was established in 1998 and has since raised more than £6.3m for the homeless, including £805,000 last year, supporting more than 100 homeless charities.

To find out more about the charity, log on to www.streetsmart.org.uk