Over the last few weeks we have been overwhelmed with support for Social Sunday 2019 as operators across the UK have mobilised to help their industry colleagues in need. But we still need more businesses to join in and fundraise for us this summer on Sunday 7th July.
When you do you’ll be in good company; taking your place alongside Principal Patron Jason Atherton, Tom Kerridge, and Tom Kitchin to name but a few. We are proud to be supported by operators large and small from all corners of the country, from national brands like Park Plaza Hotels to independent operators including The Working Boat pub in Cornwall, Bourgee in Norwich and The Freemasons at Wiswell in Lancashire.
Tom Kerridge calls upon the industry to support Social Sunday
Here are our top five Social Sunday fundraising ideas:
Host a big-name chef from another part of the country to run a pop-up in your property.
Create a special dish, cocktail or even menu to showcase your culinary innovations and excite customers.
Add just £1 to diners’ bills for the first week of July (or even the whole month). You’ll be amazed just how much can build up.
Open up for a special Sunday lunch service. After all, it’s how Jason Atherton came up with Social Sunday in the first place.
Engage your suppliers. Ask your local butcher or veg supplier to provide produce free of charge for Social Sunday and pass the saving to HA. It’s a great way for your suppliers to show their commitment to the industry and to strengthen relationships.
No matter what you do your donation could help us support a family facing financial hardship due to injury, relationship breakdown or mental health problems. We provide practical solutions to everyday problems to keep families together and help people back on their feet quickly and with dignity. You could be closer to somebody we’ve helped than you realise.
To find out more visit our website and get in touch to tell us what you’re planning.
Hospitality Action is offering supporters the exclusive opportunity to explore the opulent corridors and rooms made famous by award-winning TV period drama Downton Abbey. Guests will get to relive the drama from the popular TV show, walking through the very rooms where Hugh Bonneville’s character Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, his aristocratic family and their servants lived in the early 20th century.
Highclere Castle is a stunning country house set within a 5,000-acre estate in Hampshire and is the country seat of the Earl of Carnarvon. In addition to being the main filming location for Downton Abbey, Highclere was a filming location for the British comedy series Jeeves and Wooster, which starred comedians Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry.
Prior to the tour, guests will enjoy a Taittinger Champagne reception, kindly sponsored by Hatch Mansfield followed by a fabulous three course lunch with carefully selected wines, kindly donated by Chapel Down in the Californian Suite at The Vineyard at Stockcross, a Relais & Châteaux 5 star hotel and spa. The hotel is renowned for its impeccable service, 3 AA Rosette restaurant and award-winning 30,000 bottle wine cellar. Guests will then have the opportunity to explore the castle and the grounds at their leisure, including the Egyptian Exhibition, before rounding off the day with a delicious afternoon tea back at The Vineyard.
We’re just delighted The Vineyard is hosting this event once again for us so we can offer our supporters the chance to visit Highclere Castle this spring. This exclusive afternoon is sure to appeal to all and will raise much-needed funds and awareness of our work – it’s set to be a fantastic day!
This event is popular with our supporters in the South West and guests willingly travel some distance to attend this fundraiser. With fabulous raffle prizes and a live auction to get you excited, the day is a real treat.
The event will be held on Monday 8th April, tickets are priced at £105 and include coach transfers between The Vineyard at Stockcross and Highclere Castle.
Calling all Agatha Quiztie’s and Quiz Akabusi’s: the Hospitality Action Big Fat Quiz makes a comeback this spring!
Have you got what it takes to be crowned our 2019 Quiz champion?
Taking place on Monday 20th May at the London Hilton on Park Lane and hosted by 90’s icon Pat Sharp, this will be a quiz night like no other. Last year saw over 500 brainboxes battle it out from companies including Coca-Cola, BaxterStorey, The Caterer, The Goring and Unilever Food Solutions. A staggering £85,000 was raised and, with your help, we want to raise even more this time round.
Our Big Fat Quiz, supported by Bidfood, is the perfect evening to network, entertain colleagues, treat your team and most importantly, show off just how smart you are! Of course, as a HA event you can expect more than a bowl of chips and a warm beer, all guests will enjoy a drinks reception, delicious three course meal with wine and a goody bag. Tickets are £140 each or £1,300 for a table of 10 and the funds raised will go towards helping those most in need across the hospitality industry. There will also be a live auction hosted by the legendary Brian Turner CBE with many exclusive items up for grabs.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to be our 2019 quiz champion simply send me an email: email@example.com or give me a call: 020 3004 5504 or and book yourself in to the biggest night in town!
Following last week’s #timetotalkday which encouraged people to talk about mental health in their personal and professional life, we are proud to announce that we have our own mental health first aider at Hospitality Action. Here, newly-qualified MHFA Jo Raine, tells us a bit about her new role.
Global research indicates that one person in four will experience some form of mental health issue in the course of a year. Anxiety, depression and substance use disorders are the most common mental health illnesses in the UK. Throughout the course of any person’s life it is highly likely they will either develop mental ill health themselves or have a friend or relative who does. Yet the long-standing stigma around mental illness means that many people have a limited understanding of mental health issues and fail to seek the support they need.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally recognised education and training programme. The aim of the programme is to extend the concept of first aid training to include mental health issues so that help can be offered to a person developing a mental health issue, experiencing the worsening of an existing mental health issue or in a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate professional help is received or until the crisis appears to have been resolved.
When Hospitality Action decided to introduce a Mental Health First Aider to our office, I was delighted to be given the opportunity to train for the role. Having completed the two–day course to become a certified mental health first aider I now feel confident that I can recognise many of the signs and symptoms of common mental health illnesses and could effectively guide a colleague to appropriate support.
We learnt how to recognise the signs that someone may be experiencing a mental health issue. The course covered some challenging areas, such as myth-busting common misconceptions about suicide and self-harm, and there was plenty of time for questions and discussion of the role of mental first aid when someone is undergoing a crisis.
The training covers how to provide non-judgemental support and reassurance to a person who is experiencing a mental health issue and guide them to seek the professional support they may need to recover. It also touched on issues such as providing Mental Health First Aid to someone from a different cultural background, which is more likely to occur in the workplace than when supporting family and friends.
Independent research and evaluation shows that taking part in a Mental Health First Aid course raises awareness of mental illnesses, encourages early intervention to aid recovery, increases confidence in dealing with mental illnesses and reduces stigma. Thanks to the development of training courses like the one I went on, employers now have an opportunity to address ignorance about mental health in the workplace and help their employees to access appropriate support.
Happy and healthy staff are more likely to perform well, have good attendance levels, interact well with colleagues and make a valuable contribution to the workplace. Investing in a Mental Health First Aider is one important way in which employers can promote positive mental health in the workplace, for the benefit of all of us.
Our Employee Assistance Programme provides operators with access to a range of support services and counselling, to find out more contact Camilla Woods.
There are loads of ways to fundraise for Hospitality Action.
One of the simplest and most effective is simply adding a discretionary £1 to guest bills. Our bill round-up programme is one of the fastest growing, and easiest ways to support your industry charity. In our experience guests are only too happy to contribute to the good of the industry they so admire, and it’s a great conversation starter.
One of the businesses to pioneer £1 on the bill in 2017 was the fabulous team at The Vineyard at Stockcross, who raised over £7000 in their first year running the scheme. It’s amazing that something so simple can quickly gather momentum and drive some seriously life-changing funds for Hospitality Action.
We asked The Vineyard’s Restaurant Manager Rebecca to tell us a little bit more about fundraising for HA.
How easy did you find it to set-up and implement the scheme?
The set up and implementation of the scheme was very easy and we had all the support we needed from HA
How did you promote the scheme and its benefits to guests?
It is written on to the bill and we keep the leaflets available if anyone wants to have further information as well as briefing the teams who feel confident to talk about the charity and its work.
What were the guest reactions to the scheme when you told them about it?
On the whole they were happy to pay the pound – some choose not to if they have other charities they support but on the whole it has been very well supported and there’s never been an awkward moment.
The scheme at The Vineyard raised around £7,000 for Hospitality Action – how do you feel about that?
Very happy – that’s 7,000 diners who have supported a scheme which means that the teams that looked after them have support later on in life if they need it.
What do you think are the benefits of supporting a charity like Hospitality Action?
We have always had a charity that we raise money for – it is great that this charity now directly links into what we do – if people enjoy dining and staying out then supporting a charity like this makes complete sense. The story of Le Manoir’s Mitchell Collier really impacted our team and brought home to us how important it is to do our bit for HA.
Would you recommend the scheme to other restaurants, and if so, why?
Yes – that such a small amount on each bill can raise so much money is fantastic. And again, being part of something that directly links to each individual who works here has raised further awareness of the benefits available to them.
Adding just £1 may not seem like much, but you’ll be amazed at how much money you can raise to support your colleagues and fellow industry professionals through times of hardship.
We want as many businesses as possible to take up the scheme which can easily be applied to hotel stays as well as restaurant bills.
To get started email us and we’ll give you all the resources you need. You can find further info about the programme on our website, or check out or blog over on the Social Sunday website to discover how Hai Cenato ran with the idea to do something fantastic.
Hospitality Action is delighted to launch its fifth annual Le Tour de Cuisine – Cotswold Cycle Challenge on Monday 10th June, kindly sponsored by Sky and The Calcot Collection.
You will be astounded to learn that since 2015 when it first launched, the Cotswold Cycle Challenge has raised a staggering £220,000 for the charity. If you are a past participant, thank you so much for your contribution, it’s a tremendous success!
Hotels, restaurants, caterers, suppliers and hospitality businesses from the South West came together to celebrate our wonderful industry and raise much needed funds for their favorite charity. It is such a great day out: team building, networking, getting fit, coming together and having fun, all for a good cause. See here a few of the participating companies over the years.
Following tradition, there will be four cycle routes to choose from, which will all take in the spectacular North Cotswold countryside and will start and finish at charming Calcot.
The short ride (20 miles) is perfect for those who fancy a leisurely cycle; for those who are up for more of a challenge, there are two mid-routes to choose from (40 and 60 miles); and if these are not tough enough, then the long route (100 miles) might be more to your flavour!
We have improved all the routes again this year, staying away from the tough hills and the busy roads, making sure that cyclists of all abilities and ambition can take part and still enjoy the ride. Along the way, there will be feeding stations at Whatley Manor, The Manor at Castle Combe and at the Village Hall in Barnsley, which will offer an array of delicious delights kindly arranged by local hotels. At the finishing line at Calcot, cyclists will once again be able to enjoy a complimentary glass of Taittinger Champagne, kindly sponsored by Hatch Mansfield, a free leg massage, BBQ to celebrate their success including beverages and of course a well –deserved medal to celebrate your success.
The registration fee is £40, with a minimum of £100 sponsorship per person required to raise those much-needed funds for Hospitality Action’s cause. Let’s not forget that this is a fundraiser. Last year we raised over £50,000 for the charity, which was a truly magnificent effort.
We want to be able to assist even more hospitality people to turn their lives around this year, but we need your help to do it, so it would be really fantastic if you could participate once again with your teams and perhaps even cajole some additional industry riders to support and join in the fun! Let’s go for a record year. The funds you all raise really will make a huge difference to our work and will go towards supporting your colleagues in crisis, such as the Ellis Family.
Regardless of your political persuasion, our evidence suggests that demand for our services has increased as a direct result of the issues surrounding Brexit, and the time this has taken away from looking for solutions to the other issues facing the UK. In fact, in the last quarter of 2018 applications for grants increased by 40% year-on-year and there was a 12% rise in calls to our helpline. People are worried.
We are seeing an increased demand from applicants who have applied for Universal Credit, most facing weeks of uncertainty before receiving a payment. This leaves us wondering….. How can we help more people more quickly?
One practical thing we can do is to simplify the criteria around who is eligible for our help, which is why we have tweaked our eligibility criteria.
From now, to be considered for our help, you must either be working in the industry right now, or have worked in the industry for at least five years in your entire career. This replaces ‘Worked within the industry for either one continuous year in the past five; for seven years in their lifetime’ criteria which was both confusing some applicants and taking up vast amounts of time for our caseworkers to verify.
It might not sound much, but this simple change will enable us to more quickly respond to grant applications from people whose need is even more pressing than ever due to the current situation.
Of course, any change like this can’t just be implemented over night, so any grant application already received that qualified under the old criteria will still be processed.
This year, the cream of the UK’s hoteliers will again don aprons and white gloves to work as waiters and sommeliers at our fourth biennial Back to the Floor event.
The idea is simple: eminent hoteliers dredge their service experience from the dustiest corners of their memories and negotiate some fiendish tasks (think silver service-d peas …), while their table guests reach for umbrellas and sou’westers to avoid a drenching by the hapless sommeliers.
This year’s event takes place at the Dorchester Hotel on 26 April, when 75 hoteliers, from Jason Adams of the Lygon Arms to Pim Wolfs of Dormy House, will be going back to their roots in aid of Hospitality Action.
I’ve been a sommelier at the previous three incarnations of this event. In Year One, at Pennyhill Park in 2013, I had the dubious honour of being named the lowest tipped sommelier, for which I was awarded a bottle of Blue Nun and the trophy pictured above. As I recall, Jeremy Rata helped me drown my sorrows with a steady supply of Laphroaig, later, in the hotel bar.
As well as the 75 hoteliers waiting at table, the Dorchester’s ballroom will be jam-packed with hotel teams who’ve come to watch their bosses’ ritual humiliation. We think this, and the storm of social media attention the event aways creates, makes Back to the Floor eminently sponsor-able.
Little did I realise sitting at The Hotelier of The Year Lunch at Summer Lodge in 2010 that nearly ten years later the seeds of a post lunch discussion would still be germinating and that we would be arranging the fourth Back to the Floor Dinner at The Dorchester on April 26th 2019.
Mellowed by a glass of wine or two, Danny Pecorelli (MD Exclusive Hotels), Amanda Afiya (then Deputy Editor The Caterer), John Stauss (then GM The Four Seasons London), Simon Numphud (MD AA Hotel Services) and I were thinking of how we could give more back to Hospitality Action our main industry charity.
The light bulb moment came and the idea of Back to The Floor was sown.
Senior Hoteliers and Industry luminaries could go back to their roots and be waiters for a night serving guests and raising money at the same time.
I thought at the time that it would be a one off event and that would be that. How wrong could I be?
In 2013 the first seed eventually germinated…….yes three years is a long germination but sometimes things are worth waiting for.
Danny Pecorelli kindly hosted the first Back to the Floor dinner for 120 guests at Pennyhill Park and a team of 16 delivered an impeccable night of riotous hilarity (supposedly called service) compered by Peter Hancock to our guests who kindly donated £25,000 to Hospitality Action. Unfortunately I won the award for the “worst waiter” on the night………..never let these things get you down!
That’s that I stupidly thought.
Not to be……..Danny and others said we should do it again….and again….and again….
We progressed in 2015 to The Langham, London where Duncan Palmer kindly provided the venue. 220 guests, 40 industry luminaries brought together in a common cause and £52,000 raised for Hospitality Action.
2017 took us to Grosvenor House, kindly hosted by Stuart Bowery, 350 guests, 55 members of the team and £91,000 raised. (I believe this still to be the highest amount raised at a single event for Hospitality Action).
2019 is now upon us and we are going to do it all over again. Zoe Jenkins of The Dorchester Collection’s Coworth Park very kindly persuaded the team at The Dorchester to host this years event and we are hoping for 400 guests, 70+ Industry professionals and to raise over £100,000 for Hospitality Action on the evening of Friday 26th April. Peter Hancock will be performing his usual magic act of removing money from guests pockets via auctions and raffles! My sincere thanks to the kind folk at Laurent-Perrier for generously providing towards our champagne reception, sadly I cannot guarantee there will be no spillages.
The guests at each event have been a mixture of industry and our guests get an opportunity of really meeting the hotel GM or industry luminary who is serving them in a very relaxed manner. It’s better networking than any sales event!!
None of the above would have been possible without the generous support of the host hotels, the teams in them, the industry leaders who give their time to be the waiters and the sommeliers, our suppliers of food and beverage and the people especially at Hospitality Action and those who support the logistics behind the events. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
This brings me back to the title of this piece. We may be in competition but as an industry the hospitality industry is brilliant at working together for a common cause. We all know that we have led charmed and blessed lives working in hospitality but not everyone is as fortunate as us. It only takes a serious illness or a mental breakdown or sudden death to bring a family to its knees and it is up to us to support those members of our profession in their time of need.
Back to the Floor is a fun way for senior industry professionals to give back and highlight what is important in society today. It also makes us all realise what hard work cooking and serving our guests is and that our teams give so much each and every day.
I have been proud to have been a small part along with many colleagues of Back to the Floor and hope that it will be part of the industry calendar every other year for many years to come.
I started with germination, like an Oak Tree which started as an Acorn, our little post lunch seed has to me blossomed beautifully.
If you would like to donate a prize, purchase any places or perhaps even sponsor the evening please contact Giuliana: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3004 5504 for any further information.
2018 was yet another record 12 months for HA as we spent over £880,000 supporting more hospitality people in need than ever before. We were there for the waiters and chefs, event planners and kitchen porters, restaurateurs and food operators, to make sure that every member of our community had somewhere to turn in their hour of need. With UK hospitality set for an uncertain time one thing will remain set in stone; HA will be there to lend a helping hand when times get tough.
Of course, we can only be there thanks to the generosity of our fantastic supporters. A great way to get involved and kick start our New Year fundraising is to attend one of our renowned events! Not only will you network with industry greats, have a fantastic time and enjoy delicious food and wines but the money we raise will help people just like Rebekah, Daniel and the Ellis family. Be sure to save the following dates so you and your colleagues can attend one of the following fantastic events:
A Tour of Highclere Castle including lunch and afternoon tea at The Vineyard at Stockcross, Monday 8th April
Enjoy a stunning three course lunch at the Vineyard
with a tour of Highclere Castle, the real ‘Downton Abbey’
Back to the Floor 4, The Dorchester, Friday 26th April
It’s fourth time lucky as senior figures from the industry go Back to the Floor once again!
The Big Fat Quiz, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London, Spring TBC
Put your general knowledge to the test and be sure not to miss out
on your chance to become our 2019 Quiz champion
Northern Polo Day, Cheshire Polo Club, Sunday 23rd June
Enjoy a wonderful lunch prepared by award-winning winning chefs
prior to a thrilling game of polo
Social Sunday, nationwide, Sunday 30th June
Participate in Social Sunday and serve up something special this summer
South West Polo Day, Beaufort Polo Club, Sunday 15th September
Enjoy an outstanding lunch prepared by award-winning chefs
prior to a spot of polo and afternoon tea
Northern Lights Dinner – Autumn TBC
Celebrate the best the North West has to offer
Chairman’s Golf Day, Buckinghamshire Golf Club, Wednesday 9th October
Join us for our fourth annual Chairman’s Golf Day
Christmas Fundraising Dinner, London, Monday 25th November
Kick-start the party season with HA; celebrated chefs to be announced
If you fancy taking on a personal challenge don’t forget we have plenty of adrenaline-filled experiences in store for those wishing to raise funds and get fit at the same time.
Or why not consider nominating us as your Charity of the Year? By doing so you’ll have the opportunity to promote your organisation to a wider audience, achieve your Corporate Social Responsibility objectives, motivate and team build, generate great PR and, most importantly, make a real difference whilst having fun!
However you decide to support us this year you’ll be making a real and direct difference. Now is the time to stand up and be counted so be sure to keep an eye on our events page or send me an email email@example.com to get involved.