Thank you to all our amazing volunteers

As National Volunteering Week draws to a close we wanted to send out our thanks to all our amazing volunteers – without them we simply wouldn’t be able to raise all the funds and offer the range of services we do.  Our volunteers support us across the breadth of the charity, from our Trustees and committee members, to regional fundraisers and befrienders.

Volunteers are crucial to the running of our Golden Friends scheme.  Last year our scheme coordinator wrote a heartfelt blog on the value of our volunteers and this has not changed.  Without the volunteers who support across the scheme it would not have the impact that it does.

Our Golden Friends scheme is open to all industry retirees who have worked at least 5 years in the UK hospitality industry.  It is a contact scheme that enables us to keep in touch with all those who have dedicated so many years to the industry and helps us prevent loneliness and social isolation within the group.  Through the scheme they receive a bi-monthly newsletter; card and gift on their birthday and at Christmas; invites to regional lunches/teas; and the offer of befriending calls.

We now have over 1,600 Golden Friends across the UK and further afield and every 2 months a dedicated team of volunteers joins us to collate, stuff and frank so we can get the newsletters out.  That’s nearly 10,000 envelopes to stuff over the year!  They bring with them a joy of being able to do a little something to help that is infectious and lifts the office.

We have volunteers across the country who help us host our Golden Friends get-togethers.  They ensure that everyone we are expecting has arrived and ensure that the event goes without a hitch (well with as few hitches as possible!)  Most of our lunch volunteers have been helping in this way for years and have built relationships with the attendees who love to catch up on what’s been happening since they last met.

Finally, where would we be without the amazing Denise who has been helping us in the office since 2013 ensuring that all our Golden Friends get a hand written birthday card – she has been writing around 170 cards a month for us for over 6 years!

Our thanks go out once again to all our amazing volunteers and all the other millions of volunteers across the country who give their time so generously to so many wonderful causes.

For more information on volunteering or donating a get-together to Hospitality Action please contact Cathie on cbrennan@hospitalityaction.org.uk.

Compass crowned quiz champions

A whopping £56,000 was raised on Monday evening at our 13th annual Big Fat Quiz! Taking place at our brand new home of the London Hilton on Park Lane, the evening saw the great and the good of the hospitality industry battle it out to be crowned quiz champion.

The quiz, hosted by legendary DJ Pat Sharp, saw the team from Compass crowned champions out of the 39 competitive teams who took part. It was a closely fought battle with Henry Hirst Provisions in second place and Bidfood coming third.

There were no soggy chips at this quiz as our 400 guests enjoyed a phenomenal three course meal including a raspberry pistachio mille feuille for dessert made by the winners of Bake Off: The Professionals 2018, Emmanuel Bonneau & Sam Leatherby. Guests were also able to bid on star auction lots, hosted by celebrated chef and HA Patron Brian Turner CBE, including an overnight stay for two guests at The Vineyard including five course dinner and two tickets for ‘Strictly Come Dancing – The Professionals’ at the Motorpoint Arena Cardiff.

We are indebted to all of our sponsors, without whom the evening wouldn’t have been possible. Sincerest thanks to Bidfood, London Hilton on Park Lane, Syft, Fusion FSM and all those you see listed above.

If you’d like to host your own quiz to raise funds for Hospitality Action, or you have a brand new fundraising idea you’re keen to get off the ground, please give me a ring on 020 3004 5504 to talk things through.

Ain’t no mountain high enough.

If you’ve ever been to an exhibition such as HRC (formerly Hotelympia), The Independent Hotel show, or PUB19 it’ll come as no surprise to learn that the intrepid show team who deliver these knockout events are partial to a long walk. Clocking up thousands of steps a day while on site running a show is second nature to these hardy souls. But if you add some mountains to the mix, things get interesting; so that’s exactly what they’ve done.

On June 1st a hardy (some may say foolish) band will take on the famous “Snowdonia Horseshoe”. The gruelling 7-hour trek includes an assent of the ‘Crib Goch’ which is one of the UK’s most exposed ridges – we’re told that it’s even more exposed than Excel South Hall loading bay which we all know to be pretty horrific. Check out their fundraising page and support them here.

 

The HRC team and friends consists of Sam Chance, Ross Carter, James Rees, Shane Lewis, Keterina Albanese, Stuart Walker, Nadine Close, Rachel Parkes, David Fisher, Ani Yates, Miranda Martin, Hannah Bush, Gemma Churchill, Jamie Pearson, Abby Cairns and Tom Meek. Sam, who came up with the idea told us “our philosophy at Fresh Montgomery is always to stand as a pillar to the UK’s foodservice and hospitality community. We are proud to support Hospitality Action and the knowledge that the money we raise will help those that need it most. Our hike is nothing compared to the mountain some people need to climb everyday!”

It’s thanks to supporters like Sam and his colleagues that we’re able to keep doing what we do; providing grants to help people cover the cost of life’s essentials while they come to terms with a crisis.

People like Mr B from Leicester.

Following a period of illness in 2018 Mr B, who had worked for many years as a hotel night porter, and his wife went on their first night out in many months.

A tragic road traffic collision caused by a speeding motorist losing control and flipping a car killed Mrs B as the couple innocently waited for a bus home. Devastated by his sudden loss and facing not only profound grief, but a long legal process to ensure justice for his late wife Mr B was forced into debt just to pay for his wife’s funeral; he came to us still owing £200 for her wake.

A grant of just £650 from HA enabled Mr B to clear his debts and pay to relocate to smaller, more affordable property, more suited to his new situation. Now in a new home Mr B is looking forward to marking his late wife’s anniversary by laying her headstone in September as the Coroner’s inquest into her death continues.

Not all our stories have a ‘happily ever after’, some mountains are just too tough to climb, but thanks to your help and the efforts of people like the HRC team, we are able to support people as they navigate the more challenging paths life leads them down.

If you fancy taking on a challenge for HA then please contact us, alternatively, please give what you can to support the HRC team as they take on their challenge, knowing that you’ll be helping more people like Mr B face theirs.

Back in 2013, resource-recovery business, Olleco, started a partnership with us, which has grown to be one of the most important and impactful relationships in HA’s history. To date Olleco have donated an incredible £111,000 to HA which has enabled us to help thousands of hospitality people in need over the years. We wanted to shine a light on this fantastic business who have a fantastic ethos towards the industry, the people working in it, and providing a sustainable future.

Who are Olleco, and what do you do?

Olleco is a company which is dedicated to creating a more sustainable world and restricting climate change to 1.5°c above pre-industrial levels. We’re the UK’s leading supplier of cooking oils and collector of used cooking oil and food waste. We partner with food companies of every size to help them embrace the circular economy by converting their waste resources into renewable green energy, biofuels and organic fertiliser. These are then used to: power food factories, local businesses and communities, fuel the logistics fleets supplying the food industry and to enable farmers to grow new crops more sustainably.

What prompted you to donate a percentage of your profits to HA?

As a company, we are committed to doing the right thing. Our ambitious, environmental goals depend heavily on people in the hospitality industry and it seemed only right that we should give something back. We know how demanding it is to work in hospitality and we are continually impressed by Hospitality Action’s work to support these people in the industry when they fall upon hard times.

How do you think the industry’s perceptions of mental health and illness have changed over the years?

Hospitality Action’s work and campaigns help people within the industry understand that their specific work pressures make them especially vulnerable to a range of mental health issues. By both highlighting and working to address these, HA has gone a long way to destigmatise them. Their programme to train Mental Health First Aiders helps people in the hospitality industry recognise the signs that someone may be experiencing a mental health issue. The courses cover really challenging areas and address some of the common misconceptions about suicide and self-harm. HA have also helped drive up awareness of the fact that mental health issues will affect one in four of us in the course of a year. Creating an atmosphere of non-judgemental support and reassurance to a person who is experiencing a mental health issue is the best way to assist their recovery.

Do you think the industry is becoming more environmentally aware as well as more focused on protecting its people?

The environmental impact of food production has generated a vast amount of discussion in the media. Naturally this has had a massive impact on both consumer attitudes to food and the approach of the industries that supply that food. Food waste is a huge contributor to climate change and Olleco has seen increasing numbers of customers reducing the food waste they produce and using our food waste collections to greatly reduce their carbon footprint. Ultimately, keeping global warming below 1.5°c is also about protecting people from life-threatening changes.

What changes do you hope to see to make the hospitality sector more environmentally sustainable over the next few years?

We’d like to see everyone in the hospitality industry reduce their food waste and ensure that the unavoidable food waste they do produce, is separated for collection. In landfill, food gives off methane, a greenhouse gas roughly 30 times more damaging than CO₂ and responsible for 25% of global warming. By sending food waste to an anaerobic digestion plant such as ours, you ensure that methane is captured and converted to green energy. Using a reputable used cooking oil collection will also ensure better environmental outcomes, used cooking oil shouldn’t be thrown into the drains to cause fatbergs when it can be collected and converted into biodiesel. Olleco’s biorefinery is configured to maximise the volume recovered producing a high-quality biodiesel which can reduce carbon emissions of food logistics by 86%.

How do your customers react to the knowledge that they’re supporting HA just by using your services?

We hope that it reassures customers that we will look out for them and that we’re a company that is committed to doing good in every way we can.

Olleco’s commitment to the wellbeing of the industry is core to their values as a business. Their work in effecting environmental behaviour change has given them an understanding of the important roles people across the industry need to play in order to make things happen. It has also earned them a place on the world environmental stage and they were placed second in the 2019 Circulars Awards at the world Economic forum in Davos. Their commitment to do the right thing permeates the entire company.

From back of house teams working hard to recover maximum economic and environmental values from natural resources, to senior managers who champion environmental priorities in an incredibly cost-aware market. They are active evangelists working to drive the changes vital to secure a sustainable future for our planet wherever we they can, whether that’s interacting with other individuals or lobbying governments to adopt more sustainable policies.

To find out more visit: www.olleco.co.uk

Back to the Floor 4 breaks all records!

On Friday night a packed ballroom at London’s Dorchester Hotel hosted our fourth Back to the Floor event, in association with Caterer.com, and raised a whopping £130,000 for HA!

Our esteemed waiters and sommeliers

The biennial fundraising event challenges senior figures from the hotel industry to ‘go back to the floor’ taking on silver service and sommelier roles for a gala dinner of colleagues, clients and industry guests. Over 80 industry volunteers served 400 guests, competing in teams to secure the most tips from their intrepid guests who endured more than their fair share of mishaps, breakages and the odd dropped bread roll.

Further entertainment was provided by the London Community Gospel Choir (huge thanks to Pete Crome, Chairman and CEO of Skibo Ltd, for arranging the entertainment)

The London Gospel Community Choir

…..and there was also a raucous auction during which Chef Raymond Blanc OBE took to the stage to promote a lot donated by The Raymond Blanc Cookery School at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons which achieved a staggering £10,000 winning bid.

The live auction in full swing!

Our Chief Executive Mark Lewis says:

“Back to the Floor is without doubt the jewel in our fundraising crown. Philip Newman-Hall, Danny Pecorelli [of Exclusive Hotels and Venues] and Zoe Jenkins [Dorchester Collection] worked tirelessly to bring together a barnstorming evening of fun, laughs and some fiercely competitive fundraising. I am humbled by the amount of money raised on the night, which beat all previous records and I will never quite recover from the sight of some of the most senior figures in the industry doing the conga for HA! The amount of money raised is transformational, and it will be put to good use to support hospitality workers as they face life’s challenges.”

L-R, Danny Pecorelli, Philip Newman-Hall and Mark Lewis

Back to the Floor is the result of a collaboration between Philip Newman-Hall and Danny Pecorelli who have steered the growth of the event since its inception in 2013. Since then the event has grown, attracting more volunteer waiters and sommeliers and raising increasingly impressive sums of money. Zoe Jenkins of the Dorchester Collection has been part of the organising team since 2017, and the event was kindly hosted on a complimentary basis by the Dorchester hotel.

Headline sponsors Caterer.com with HA CEO Mark Lewis

Of the event Kamile Riza, Sales Manager of headline event sponsor Caterer.com commented.

Caterer.com were delighted to support Hospitality Action and Back to the Floor as headline sponsors. It’s such a vibrant event with a great sense of fun, raising essential funds. Every employee plays a key part in the success of the hospitality industry, and team work, flexibility and enthusiasm are vital for all roles in the sector. This event celebrated that, and our team really enjoyed their evening as sommeliers!”

Zoe Jenkins & Philip Newman-Hall

Philip Newman-Hall commented.

“On behalf of Danny, Zoe and myself can I add my grateful thanks to those who volunteered to work at Back to the Floor. To have raised £130,000 for our own charity whilst supporting The Dorchester team was a magnificent achievement. I am delighted to confirm that the event’s future is secure thanks to the kind offer from Sally Beck to host the event at the Royal Lancaster in 2021.”

Sally Beck, Royal Lancaster London – our Back to the Floor 5, 2021 host!

Brands including Caterer.com, Dorchester Collection, Umbrella Training, Zenith and Diversey, Exclusive Hotels, Laurent-Perrier, Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark, Louis Jadot, PSAV and Hospitality Photographic by Ben and Jeremy kindly supported the event, their continued commitment to the Back to the Floor is testament to their commitment to the wellness of the industry.

Huge thanks to everyone who made the night possible, we’re looking forward to 2021 already!!

Our chat with rugby legend, HA Patron and all round top bloke, Phil Vickery

Phil Vickery MBE DL, former rugby international and winner of Celebrity Masterchef is HA’s newest Patron. Phil will be joining hundreds of other supporters in the upcoming Cotswold Cycle Challenge which takes place on Monday 10th June  from the stunning Calcot.

We caught up with him to talk food, cycling and how to get motivated.

Phil with HA’s IT Director Neslihan at last year’s event

You were introduced to Hospitality Action by Creed Foodservice, tell us a bit about your role there.

I’ve been a non-exec director since 2017, Creed’s values and positioning are a great natural fit with my personal interest in identifying the beliefs and characteristics that make us all so different and enable us to achieve our ambitions, however big or small. The partnership is built around a shared commitment to achieving more by believing in yourself. For Creed, that means being far more than just a foodservice wholesaler, it aims to celebrate the human values at the heart of the business that are encapsulated by the company’s motto, ‘Believe in More’.

John Torode said of you ‘Phil loves to cook to make people smile’. What made you fall in love with food after a successful rugby career?

I’ve always had an interest in the food industry, going back to my family and farming so it wasn’t a great surprise I was drawn to it.

During my rugby career it was about knowledge and learning about health, nutrition and diet. Using this to be a successful sportsman was very important. When Masterchef came up I didn’t go on the show to think I was going to win it, I was just really interested in it. I kept thinking, “don’t get knocked out first!”

It sounds gushy but I fell in love with food – not that I ever fell out of love with food, I’ve always enjoyed food, but when surrounded by people who share the same interest and care, enthusiasm, passion. It is all about talking about and being around food.

What attracted you to get involved with Hospitality Action?

I’ve seen both sides of it. As a Patron of HA, I am very lucky. We go to events that are catered for with amazing food. It comes out, well presented, hot food, lots of flavours and we don’t really think where it comes from or the work it takes making it look so good.

But I know from being involved behind the scenes and spending time preparing, understanding the pressures of preparation etc. just how hard it can be. I think the hospitality industry is taken a little bit for granted. We need to think a little more about what we are demanding; we want good food, we want it on time etc, we want it perfect, but remember – there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes.

What are the similarities between a professional kitchen and professional sport?

It’s all about camaraderie and team work. I recently spent time in Port Issac at Nathan Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen. I saw how the team had a level of professionalism and detail unlike any other, their work ethic and approach was very similar to those that have to be present to succeed in sport. But funnily enough it works both ways, I was recently with the Raging Bull team in Oxford Street, they are all asking questions about food and we just had a great time sharing information and recipe ideas.

Phil and his Creed Foodservice team

Tell us about your transition from Rugby to riding a bike?

 I’ve always ridden a bike. In rugby, more like a static bike for training but also took out a road bike often so it was a natural progression. Plus it’s a non-impact sport so it’s good for my old joints.

 Where and how often do you ride?

The Cotswolds is a brilliant place to ride with lots of open space, I don’t get to ride as much as I’d like all year around, but I’m training hard for the Cotswold ride in June.

What else do you do to relax?

Exercise & cooking. I’m certainly not a chef, I’m a cook. I love time spent with friends, family, events etc. all coming together over food.

Which route are you taking on for the Cotswold ride and what do you think your time will be?

The 40-mile route I’m not going to commit to a time but it will be faster than last year, I have trained more and feel prepared. Plus the Creed gang will work as a team.

How do you get and keep the motivation to train for an event?

The main motivational requirement is not the event itself, it is getting to the event. For example; the hardest bit about training this morning wasn’t the training I did, it was the drive there! Pushing yourself to get out and do it. Once you’re there, it is a team spirit and we’re all part of it. The motivation is needed to get there and know you are going to try your hardest and finish the cycle.

What’s your favourite post-ride meal?

After the cycle last year we went to a lovely Argentinian grill with burgers at Calcot – that was delicious.

You can join Phil, the Creed Foodservice team and hundreds more hospitality friends at Le Tour De Cuisine Cotswold Cycle Challenge at Calcot on Monday 10th June To find out more and get involved click here or email Maria Carter mcarter@hospitalityaction.org.uk for further information.

In from the cold – our winter fuel campaign round-up

Each year HA gives thousands of pounds in winter fuel grants and this season saw particularly high demand. Grants are made to Golden Friends and people of working age in financial hardship of working age. Jo Raine from our Grants Team takes up the story…..

“Government figures show that around 2.5 million households in the UK cannot afford to heat their homes to an adequate temperature. Fuel poverty is caused by low incomes, high energy prices and energy inefficient housing.

Research published last year revealed  that fuel poverty is directly linked to more than 3,000 deaths a year . Beyond the terrible scale of cold-related deaths, people experiencing fuel poverty have an increased risk of health issues such as cardiovascular and respiratory problems. Living in a cold home can also impact on mental health and social isolation.

We are delighted that Hospitality Action’s Winter Fuel Grant programme, which is kindly sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Innholders, has helped more than 300 households on low incomes to heat their homes this winter.  Each household has benefited from a one-off grant of £150 towards their winter fuel bills.

This year we have awarded in excess of £45,000 in Winter Fuel Grants. Over two-thirds of recipients are members of our Golden Friends Scheme for retirees from the hospitality industry. However, nearly a third of our Winter Fuel Grants have been awarded to people currently working in the industry, demonstrating that many households in employment are also struggling to pay their bills.

Nearly 80% of those we have helped say that that if it wasn’t for our grant they would have gone without heating in certain rooms, and 45% say that in order to pay their fuel bills they would have had to forego other essentials including food.

Comments from grant recipients illustrate the broader impact of fuel poverty on physical and mental health:

Without your help I would be so cold which makes my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome worse – which ends up making my depression worse with worry.

Thank you very much. If it gets too cold I stay in bed till noon and back at 7.30

Thank you so much. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to use more gas and keep warm instead of being cold with extra clothes and blankets.

To know that I can have the heating on for longer each day is one less thing to worry about.

Thank you for your grant towards my winter fuel bill…I know if I can be warm I can be healthy.

With this grant I can let my grandchildren come and see me – usually my flat is too cold for them.

From these comments and all the other feedback we receive, the message couldn’t be clearer.  Help towards winter fuel costs is beneficial in so many ways to those who would otherwise be struggling through the colder months.”

Join the ranks of Jason Atherton and Tom Kerridge this summer

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:

  1. Host a big-name chef from another part of the country to run a pop-up in your property.
  2. Create a special dish, cocktail or even menu to showcase your culinary innovations and excite customers.
  3. 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.
  4. Open up for a special Sunday lunch service. After all, it’s how Jason Atherton came up with Social Sunday in the first place.
  5. 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.

We look forward to hearing from you

The Real Downton Abbey

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.

To book online visit: www.hospitalityaction.org.uk/events . Early booking is recommended, as places are limited.

To find out more contact Maria on 020 3004 5516 or mcarter@hospitalityaction.org.uk .

No ordinary quiz night

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: gvittiglio@hospitalityaction.org.uk or give me a call: 020 3004 5504 or and book yourself in to the biggest night in town!