Cafe Sunlight chefs to cook for Gordon Brown

Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Sunlight Development Trust
Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Sunlight Development Trust

by business editor Trevor Sturgess

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is set to dine well today as caterers from Medway serve him the finest Kentish produce.

Cafe Sunlight, which operates outlets across the area, was named social enterprise of the year in 2008. As a reward, the business was invited to compete to provide refreshments for this year's awards reception in 10 Downing Street. It saw off competition from Jamie Oliver's 15 to land the prestigious job.

Twenty staff, including long-term unemployed, serving offenders, and people with learning difficulties, are preparing the food and drink for Mr Brown, Cabinet members and 120 guests.

Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Sunlight Development Trust, based in Gillingham, said it was a great honour and everyone was looking forward to the challenge.

They would be serving canapes and a wide-range of local produce. "All the products are coming from Kentish farms and suppliers," he said. "We've got use of the Number 10 kitchens all day."

Mr Brown has previously visited the Sunlight Centre during a tour of Medway. "He knows us a little bit," added Mr Holbrook.

Meanwhile, the enterprise has been invited to Qatar to explain what it does.

Two representatives will visit the Gulf state in December at the invitation of the Qatar High Commission. It follows the Sunlight Centre being mentioned in a United Nations report on best practice in social programmes.

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