Plans to convert an unused social club on the grounds of a maximum-security prison in Scotland into a fine-dining restaurant run by prisoners have reportedly been approved. This decision not only marks the starting signal for the Yew Tree restaurant but is also a second chance for many ex-offenders.
Yew Tree, which was named after a historic tree in the grounds of Castle Huntly prison in Scotland, will initially open as a vegan cafe with a capacity of about 50 guests, but if the concept is accepted, there will also be a fine-dining restaurant experience in the evening with a completely vegan menu.
One of the main reasons for approving the project is the opportunites that it offers for ex-offenders, as explained in a report drawn up by the planning department and published by The Courier: “The proposed use has been developed as a means to invest in skills development for ex-offenders, enabling cost-effective returns through a reduction in repeat offending.”
The project is not only aimed at ex-offenders, but also people with mental health problems that are associated with alcohol and drugs. The social project is supported by a regional company committed to social entrepreneurship called Starting Step, as further reported by BBC.
Starting Step chief executive Dodie Piddock told the BBC she was proud to see progress, saying that: “The next stage is the building warrant, tender and invite for bids. I am naturally an optimist, so we are looking to be able to aware the bid in early January. This would mean that we can open in spring, although this is all dependent on funding.”