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StreetSmart: Londoners asked to add £1 to restaurant bills to help homeless this winter

Bibi in Mayfair (Press handout)
Bibi in Mayfair (Press handout)

Londoners are being invited to add £1 to their bills while dining out this festive season to help raise vital funds to support homeless people.

Hundreds of restaurants, pubs, bars and hotels across the capital are taking part in this year’s StreetSmart campaign, running throughout November and December.

Among them are foodie hotspots including Fallow in St James, Manteca in Shoreditch, Bibi in Mayfair, Joia at Battersea Power Station and Tendril Vegan Kitchen in Soho.

Also taking part is Brasserie of Light at Selfridges, Field at Fortnum and Mason, Lantana Café, Ottolenghi, Sumi, Burger & Lobster and MEATliquor.

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StreetSmart has raised over £12 million since it launched 25 years ago.

The annual scheme sees a voluntary £1 added to diners’ bills at participating restaurants.

All of the money raised at the restaurants goes to help those in need, as the charity’s partner LandAid covers the costs of the campaign.

It benefits more than 50 projects, which help provide people experiencing homelessness with everything from beds and housing, to employment support and mental health services.

Among them is London-based food redistribution charity The Felix Project, which has now received a total of £1m in funding from Streetsmart. The donations have helped the organisation, the charity partner for the Standard’s Food for London Now campaign, provide 3.6m meals across a five-year period, and in the last year alone supply more than one million kilos of food to other charities supporting homeless people.

The Standard’s chief restaurant critic, Jimi Famurewa, described Streetsmart as a “treasured component of the London dining scene”.

“Each year, the capital’s best restaurants take part to help those caught up in the misery of homelessness and it remains a vital, simple way to pay the spirit and generosity of a great meal forward,” he said.

“Over 25 years, the altruism of restaurateurs and their diners has achieved truly great results and helped make a lasting difference to so many lives.”

Nearly 170,000 people in the capital - equating to around one in 50 Londoners - are living in hostels, bedsits, or other temporary accommodation, cross-party group London Councils estimates. Among them are more than 83,000 children. Meanwhile many more are sleeping rough, or sofa-surf.

Chef Alex Dilling, of two-Michelin starred Alex Dilling at Hotel Café Royal, said: “It is our duty to support those eating less well and not in fortunate enough positions to be in the warm this Christmas. The small donations from diners can make a huge difference to those in need.”

More than 560 restaurants in 24 cities across the country have signed up to this year’s campaign, making it the biggest yet.

For a full list, visit streetsmart.org.uk.