Debt and un-seasonal visitors

Sadly, we continue to receive many calls from hospitality people who are living in fear of a visit from the bailiffs. In the UK 1 in 14 adults are in problem debt, and the financial pressures of the festive season often add to that burden regardless of whether there are extra shifts available during December.

Callers often complain of aggressive language in letters and intimidating behaviour from bailiffs on the doorstep. Debts can quickly spiral beyond control and leave people bewildered and at risk of having property re-possessed.

This issue has attracted national interest with people like  Martin Lewis the ‘Money Saving Expert’ calling for a change in the law to address the risk of suicide as a result of financial worries. A change in the law is something we’d applaud.

If you or a colleague is worried about mounting debt, there are lots of ways we can help you.

The first thing to do is not panic – pick up the phone and call our 24/7 helpline on 0808 802 0282 – we can give you practical advice to help get things back on track.

Specialist debt advice – working with our partner PayPlan we can help you come to terms with your debt levels and look at your best route forwards.

Psychological support – money matters can be stressful and put pressure on all aspects of daily life. We’re here to provide a friendly ear and practical advice.

Hardship grants – You may qualify for a grant to help you with household expenses to provide a little financial breathing space

Winter fuel grants (for working age and retired people) – fuel poverty is a real issue at this time of year, you may qualify for a grant to help with spiralling energy costs.

The stress caused by debt can be stressful and in extreme cases, life threatening so if you or a colleague are worried call us on 0808 802 0282 or for information on our grants visit the Grants page on our website or call the grants team on 020 3004 5500.

Forget Black Friday, we’ve got LOTS of awesome gifts

 

Before you get swept up in the consumerist wave of Black Friday and Cyber Monday take a moment to check out our 16th Christmas annual online auction.

Forget socks, flamingo egg cups (really, they’re a thing) or never-to-be-used vouchers for shops that only have three branches at the opposite end of the country. We’ve got some of the most unique and exciting gifts for the foodie in your life.

Today sees the launch of our annual online auction. There are some amazing lots on offer including:

There are some unique experiences in our auction that make the perfect gift for that special someone. The final deadline for bids is 2pm on Friday November 30thget your bids in now.

Your gift won’t just make your loved one’s Christmas magical, you’ll be spreading some warmth to our beneficiaries. Your generosity could help a family through one of their most challenging times.

Plus, if you buy one of our lots we promise you won’t get involved in a brawl at ASDA over a TV.

Going once… Going twice… Get bidding!

 

 

The type of experience money can’t buy.

One of the amazing things about HA is the lengths our supporters will go to in order to create wonderful fundraising events. Experiences that are so unique and special you simply couldn’t buy them anywhere else for all the money in the world. Our Christmas dinner is just one example, bringing together some of the biggest names in European cuisine.

If you want to be part of this evening there are just a handful of tickets left, get yours here. The event takes place at Chino Latino at Park Plaza London Riverbank at 7pm on Monday November 26th.

As if having the legend that is Raymond Blanc cook for you isn’t enough – he’s also bringing along some of his protégés and the people he has influenced. All superstars in their own right.

 Let’s start with the three musketeers themselves

Raymond Blanc OBE, Benoit Blin & Gary Jones 

Best-selling author and star of numerous television programmes including the BBC’s ‘Kew on a Plate’ and ‘Kitchen Secrets’ Raymond Blanc OBE has nurtured some of the country’s most respected chefs and 34 of his protégées have gone on to win Michelin stars for themselves. Monsieur Blanc’s Executive Head Chef, Gary Jones has led the kitchen brigade at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons since 1999 and his Chef Pâtissier Benoit Blin has twice been a judge on the BBC2 Bake Off Crème de la Crème programme and more recently Channel 4s Bake Off, The Professionals. These three are the powerhouses behind Le Manoir ensuring the hotel retains its much-coveted stars and topping The Caterer’s Hoteliers Hotels power-list for the second year running. And they could be cooking for you.

Meet the rest of the dynamic half-dozen behind the stoves.

Robin Gill

In 2013 Robin opened The Dairy which has reached number nine in The National Restaurant Awards, the top 50 in the Good Food Guide and was awarded a Bib Gourmand this past September. Robin has also opened the popular Counter Culture and Sorella restaurants and has received the Good Food Guide Chef of the Year award and has also acted as a judge on MasterChef Ireland.

Aggi Sverrisson

Iceland-born Aggi has spent time at the Michelin-starred restaurant Pétrus, the highly acclaimed Léa Linster in Luxembourg and of course, at the two Michelin-starred Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. His own flagship venture, Texture Restaurant, was voted The Independent’s New Restaurant of the Year in 2007 and received its first Michelin star in 2010.

Werner Seebach

The evening will be hosted by Executive Group Chef Werner Seebach of Chino Latino who will prepare the delicious canapés and petits fours. Werner joined Chino Latino at the Riverbank Park Plaza hotel as Head Chef before being appointed Group Head Chef for Chino Latino London, Leeds, and Nottingham, winning a Catey award for Best Restaurant Team Of The Year.

This promises to be one of the culinary events of the year with some of the biggest chefs on the scene all behind the stoves together. Raymond will be conducting a live Q&A so you can find out some of the secrets to his success at first hand.

The last few tickets are on sale now, make sure you bag one while you can!

Reflections on joining HA, and why our work is more important than ever.

Hi, I’m Jeremy, and it’s my third week as the newly-appointed Marketing Director at Hospitality Action.

During my career I’ve been lucky enough to work close to the hospitality industry for The Caterer magazine, and in digital fundraising for the international charities WaterAid and Christian Aid. I’m looking forward to bringing my experience to HA as we embark on the next exciting phase in our evolution.

The highlight of my first week was getting to experience the generosity of our supporters at first hand. I was lucky enough to join chefs Jose Pizarro along with Chris and Jeff Galvin as they prepared signature dishes for an audience of fans, foodies and suppliers – all for the benefit of HA. I was taken with how committed they were both to their own teams but also the wellbeing of the wider industry. As the auction lots rolled in, I felt a real sense of pride for our industry and those who work to support it.

As a marketing chap, I’ll be thinking about how we describe ourselves, our beneficiaries, supporters and what we do. World Mental Health Day last week was a great thought starter.

There has been a step change in the way we talk about mental health, and it’s a fantastic thing to see. From Chef Andrew Frost who took to Instagram to share the story of how HA’s action line had helped him, to high profile leaders like Sat Bains symbolically removing themselves from social media to raise awareness of the pressures of our always-on lifestyle. Our friends (and my former colleagues) at The Caterer even dedicated a whole issue of the magazine to the campaign. All of these things point to a de-stigmatisation of mental health which is something HA and other charities have been working towards for years and a fact we should celebrate.

I can’t wait to start work on developing the way we communicate how we help people and the difference it makes to their lives. Ours is a fraternal industry and the people who HA help aren’t miles away – they’re our colleagues, friends and employees – and who knows – maybe one day, any one of us could need a bit of help. HA, and the wider industry helps out our friends in a time of need to help them get back on their feet. I’m keen to evolve how we tell these stories and to develop new ways that you can support us to do more of this vitally important work.

Watch this space! I’m keen to hear any comments, stories or thoughts, drop them in the comments section below or email me at jgibson at hospitalityaction.org.uk