Business ‘targeted by vandals’ announces a youth initiative

A ST Brelade restaurant that is due to open today for the first time since an alleged burglary has confirmed plans to launch a youth project to help teenagers find work in hospitality.

[Left to right] Javi Victorero, head chef, Mia Ballands, chef, Rhys Barrot (15), dish washer, Olly Ashton, manager, Andy Green, griddle chef and Elvio Jasmins, supervisor. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30705279)
[Left to right] Javi Victorero, head chef, Mia Ballands, chef, Rhys Barrot (15), dish washer, Olly Ashton, manager, Andy Green, griddle chef and Elvio Jasmins, supervisor. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30705279)

Last week, staff from Off The Rails reported that several thieves had broken in and vandalised the property, while also stealing tills, iPads and a number of large professional kitchen knives. An investigation is ongoing and six suspects aged 14 and 15 were arrested and released on police bail.

After a ‘round-the-clock’ clean-up effort – which involved replacing a significant amount of damaged stock – one of the restaurant’s managers, Chloe Harman, said that the team was ‘raring and ready to go’ for today’s reopening.

She explained that the Off The Rails team did not want there to be a ‘polarisation’ between teenagers and the rest of the community and that staff from the restaurant had been meeting the St Brelade Youth Project to deliver a programme for young people. The scheme would be aimed at teenagers in Years 10 and 11 with the goal of introducing them to the ‘opportunities and benefits’ of working in the hospitality sector, she explained.

‘We want to get loads of other businesses involved in this,’ Ms Harman said. ‘It’s a way of actively engaging young people.

‘We don’t want this to be a breakdown, we want this to be a breakthrough – we want to live in a cohesive society where we are all working together.’

Olly Ashton, another manager at Off The Rails, also called for local businesses to get involved, and said the restaurant was in discussions with the Jersey Hospitality Association, Skills Jersey and the Youth Parliament – all of which he said were supporting the project.

Following the incident, Deputy Rob Ward called for more youth facilities to be introduced across the Island to help ‘steer’ young people away from antisocial behaviour.

St Brelade Deputy Montfort Tadier said that he did not want young people to be ‘demonised’ as a result of recent antisocial behaviour in the parish.

When asked about the restaurant’s proposed youth project, he said: ‘I think it’s a really positive step – as I said, St Brelade is still a great place to live.’

He added that there was ‘a big argument’ for regeneration in the Les Quennevais area and that the Island Plan – the document which sets planning policy in Jersey – was a ‘great opportunity’ to engage with young people about facilities or new projects.

‘I am always pleased to hear from residents in the area if they have any ideas about regeneration and what might be desirable,’ he said.

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