Soho restaurant Dehesa has been awarded a prestigious Civic Community Award by Westminster City Council, seeing off stiff competition from much bigger companies such as CityWest Homes and Queen’s Park Rangers FC. The restaurant, part of the acclaimed Salt Yard Group, took home the award for ‘Partnership of the Year’ for its work with Switchback, a charity that helps rehabilitate young adult offenders through a scheme that combines intensive mentoring with training and placements within the hospitality sector.

Dehesa began working with Switchback in early 2011, offering support to the mentoring programme by showing trainees around the kitchens and providing one day work placements. Following the success of these initial activities, it then went on to organise several longer, paid placements, as well as CV advice and mock interviews. A year ago, Switchback was also selected as the restaurant’s supported charity and a voluntary £1 donation was added to every bill. This scheme has already raised more than £25,000 and Dehesa has agreed to continue it for a second year.  

Cllr Lee Rowley of Westminster City Council commented ““Our Civic Community Award winners are leading the way in doing their bit for the local community, and foster a strong sense of community in Westminster. It’s vital that we recognise the great work that they have done.”

Notes to editors

Dehesa is part of Salt Yard Group, which also owns Salt Yard and Opera Tavern. All three London restaurants specialise in Italian and Spanish charcuterie, cheeses and tapas.

25 Ganton Street

020 7494 4170


Switchback is a small charity which helps young adult offenders rebuild their lives after being released.

Through an intensive mentoring programme, the scheme enables 18-24 year olds to build on catering skills learned in prison kitchens, assisting them to make lasting changes in their lives.

Most young adult offenders are bound to return to custody  – 58% of 18-21 year olds are back inside within a year – but for Switchback trainees, this figure is currently just 20%.

Of the trainees who have moved through the programme in the first four years, 51% have settled long-term into work or education. A further 27% are still in touch and know that they are welcome back when the time comes.

See www.switchback.org.uk or contact Slaney Wright, 07920 486 808, slaney@switchback.org.uk for more information.”