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Social enterprise tackling homelessness wins national award

Clarion Housing Group CEO Clare Miller with the Fat Macy’s team (L-R Nathalie Moukarzel, Marc Best and Tori Martin).

A social enterprise which gets young Londoners off the streets and into their own homes through food has been crowned the winner of The William Sutton Prize for Social Innovation at an awards ceremony which took place last week (November 20).

Fat Macy’s runs supper clubs and catering events staffed by trainees who receive work experience and support to move into rented accommodation.

For every hour volunteered, trainees accumulate credit which is paid into a secure deposit fund, enabling them to save money to move into their own homes whilst developing vital skills for independent living.

The organisation is now set to open its first permanent venue in Peckham comprising a commercial kitchen, restaurant space, delicatessen and, uniquely, a ‘microhostel’ flat with space for four trainees. The £20,000 prize will be used to fund a Tenancy Support Worker to help trainees transition successfully from homelessness to rented accommodation, allowing Fat Macy’s to have a greater social impact.

Highly commended was a proposal by The Creative Art House to roll out and expand their Studio of Sanctuary programme which enables artists seeking asylum to rebuild their portfolios, develop their practice and establish professional networks so that they can work in the creative industries once they receive settlement. The organisation will receive £5,000 to develop the concept further.

The seven-strong shortlist also included projects by Centrepoint, Off The Fence, PressPad, Urban Patchwork and Chatterbox focusing on issues such as consolidating data to provide a holistic view of homelessness, youth mentoring and supporting refugees and asylum seekers.

Now in its second year, The William Sutton Prize was developed by Clarion Housing Group to celebrate William Sutton’s legacy as a 19th-century innovator and philanthropist who bequeathed his fortune to improve the quality of social housing.

It encourages individuals and organisations to present a new concept, service or idea that will benefit social housing residents and communities, with a prize fund on offer to help develop the idea and maximise its impact. The funding is provided by Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group.

Clare Miller, chief executive of Clarion Housing Group said: ‘Homelessness and a lack of support for asylum seekers are two big issues affecting society today, so I’m delighted that we’ll be working with both Fat Macy’s and The Creative Art House to develop their inspirational projects through The William Sutton Prize.

‘With more than 100 applications received over the summer, it was hard to choose our winners, but I’m sure they will go on to make a huge difference within their local communities and beyond.’

Nathalie Moukarzel, director of Fat Macy’s added: ‘It feels absolutely incredible to have won The William Sutton Prize – we were nominated alongside so many amazing projects and we’re so grateful for Clarion’s support. The money will make a huge difference, enabling us to support even more young people through Fat Macy’s.’

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