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Dartmouth Apprentice closes with loss of jobs

Dartmouth’s Apprentice training restaurant has been forced to close with the loss of six full-time jobs.
But the charitable operation set up almost five years ago to help the long-term unemployed could still be saved if the right charity stepped up to take it on.
The Dartmouth apprentice staff were told last Thursday morning that they were being made redundant just four days before the restaurant was due to reopen after said general manager Nina Stanesby.
Ms Stanesby, along with head chef Darren Winn second chef Mark Westerndorp, house manager Mandy Abraham and front of house supervisors Abigail York and Craig Wiltshire – who have been helping to train out-of-work people – are now out of work themselves.
Ms Stanesby stressed the business had not gone into ‘administration’ or ‘liquidation’ and had been profitable right up until the end.
She also revealed there had been ‘philanthropic’ individuals with charity support looking at pumping tens of thousands of pounds into saving the Dartmouth restaurant – until the time simply ran out.
This week Dartmouth county and district councillor Jonathan Hawkins said the closure of the unique restaurant was a ‘great blow and a great shame’ .
He added: ‘It has been a fantastic facility for Dartmouth. Let’s hope that someone can some along and re-open it as soon as possible.’
Ms Stanesby said there had been charities on the sidelines hoping to step in to take over the restaurant but the complicated legal situation had made this very difficult.
She said Dartmouth Apprentice on its own had been a ‘massive success story’ as she added: ‘Last year we had our most profitable year. We have become a venue for wedding receptions and large parties.’
Over the last four and a half years, the Dartmouth restaurant has helped more than 150 apprentices and clocked up an 80 percent success rate in getting them back into full-time employment or education.
One of the restaurant apprentices went on to work for celebrity chef Mitch Tonks in his Seahorse restaurant in Dartmouth. .

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