New vegan bistro The Yew Tree plans to open inside maximum-security Perth Prison in Scotland. Local social-justice business Starting Step submitted plans for the restaurant—which will operate inside an abandoned social club on prison grounds—to council planners and obtained non-financial backing from the Scottish Prison Service. The Yew Tree will be staffed by current inmates, ex-convicts, and people suffering with mental health issues, including addiction. “Trainees will be able to develop their skills and reap the benefits of a real work environment,” the plans state. “They will be able to interact with members of the public, where there will be no attached stigmas of their past mistakes. This will bring an added positive outcome of breaking down barriers between community and clients.”
Starting Step CEO Dodie Piddock explained that it is important The Yew Tree offers a fully plant-based menu, which will be made from locally sourced ingredients. “There are many reasons for this. There is a growing need for chefs that are able to produce high-quality vegan food,” Piddock told The Courier UK. “What is important about this project is the end result. I don’t want this to be just another training program, I want to do something more than give them hope.