15th November 2016
People often ask me why Pret doesn’t advertise more, particularly at a time when we are selling our famous Christmas Lunch sandwich. I always tell them that Pret prefers to spend on its ingredients, its teams and its long-term charitable work. I hope these investments make a bigger difference to how our customers feel about us.
At Christmas time, instead of producing a sumptuous TV ad, Pret takes a different approach. This year we commissioned a London-based film maker and gave him behind-the-scenes access to see how our Rising Stars for the homeless really works.
One of Our First Rising Stars, Jay
I believe this programme is the single most effective way to break the cycle of homelessness. Beyond the immediate needs of food and accommodation, it provides homeless people with a job, stability, and a ladder back into society.
We treat and pay our Rising Stars the same as we do all our team members but we also give them a buddy, weekly counselling, and a three-month travel card. We’ve opened the door to more than 350 people over the past eight years and an incredible 75% have graduated from the three month course. Around 150 graduates are still working at Pret, many now in key roles, while others pursue careers elsewhere. One of our graduates has become an estate agent, which is rather wonderful for someone who was previously without a roof over his head.
The short film gives a good flavour of what Pret does and how the scheme affects the lives of our Rising Stars. I tried to get the film maker to put more upbeat music in, but I was overruled! Anyway, I do hope you enjoy it.
It’s all made possible by customer donations throughout the year – 10p from every soup we sell and 50p from each of our Christmas sandwiches. With your help we are hoping to raise just over £1.7 million for the relief of homelessness this year.
If any other companies out there are interested in setting up similar programmes, we wholeheartedly encourage you to do so. Pret’s door is always open and we are happy to share the knowledge we’ve gained in over 20 years of working in this field. Please contact Nicki Fisher who heads up the Pret Foundation Trust or tweet me @Cliveschlee.