Wanted: volunteers to spread the HA word nationwide – and help hospitality people

Hospitality Action helps people who work or have worked in hospitality and find themselves in difficulty or crisis. We’re only able to do this because of the generosity of our supporters.

Support comes in many forms: people donate, cycle, bake, run, cook and host events for us. Whatever our supporters choose to do, we’re always grateful.

We’re lucky to have three regional committees, whose members give up precious time for free to help put on fundraising events in their region.

In the southwest, Calcot’s Richard Ball heads up a merry band of hoteliers, consultants and suppliers who pull together to deliver events such as the Rugby Legends Dinner, the Southwest Polo Day and the Cotswolds Cycle Challenge.

In the northwest, our fundraising committee led by Kevin Haygarth and Dawn Holding works tirelessly to pull off events like the Northern Lights Dinner, Northern Golf Day and this weekend’s Northwest Polo Day.

And in London, Daniel Pedreschi of Park Plaza Hotels chairs a committee that’s responsible for our annual Big Fat Quiz night and our ever-popular Christmas Dinner.

The hard work of these three boards not only raises hundreds of thousands of pounds for us every year, it also helps promote the work Hospitality Action does, regionally.

In the coming year, I want to extend our network of regional committees to encompass East Anglia, the Heart of England, Wales and Scotland. To do this, I need volunteers to put their hand up and say “I’d like to help Hospitality Action in my region”.

Committee members need to be dedicated, philanthropic, resourceful and persuasive. Do you fit that bill? If so, please contact me at mlewis@hospitalityaction.org.uk or call me on 07919 3234978.

 

 

A Whole Lot of Fun – Flagship Quiz Breaks Records!

A record-breaking £85,000 was raised on Wednesday evening at our annual Big Fat Quiz! Taking place at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London the event was an enormous success and raised the most since the quiz began back in 2007!

The fundraising got off to a fantastic start when Daniel Pedreschi, Regional General Manager UK at PPHE Hotel Group presented us with a cheque for £19,533 – raised through the popular StreetSmart Campaign.

The quiz, hosted by legendary DJ Pat Sharp saw joint team CESA, Jellybean Creative Solutions, Propercorn and Wenlock Spring crowned champions out of the 55 competitive teams who took part. It was a closely fought battle with joint team Delifrance, Kellogg’s and Tyrells in second place and The Caterer coming third.

Over 500 guests enjoyed a three course meal of ham hock, chicken and leek terrine, slow-cooked shepherd’s pie and apricot and vanilla sponge mousse with coconut ganache and almond crumble. 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 in a Suite at The Dorchester and two tickets to see the England v India test match at Lord’s this summer.

It goes without saying that we’re extremely grateful to all of our sponsors, without whom the evening simply wouldn’t have been possible. Sincerest thanks to Bidfood, the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, Syft, Fusion FSM and all those you see listed above.

It was a fantastic evening! If you’d like to host your own (slightly smaller!) 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.

Charity supporters walk the rooms of Downton Abbey

Last Thursday we offered our guests the opportunity to tour Highclere Castle in West Berkshire, to lunch and have afternoon tea at The Vineyard at Stockcross and we raised £13,000 for Hospitality Action.

We ran this event for the first time in 2017 and for the second year running we sold out in just a few weeks. We love organising this popular event because it opens the doors to new supporters, who are prepared to travel for miles for the opportunity to tour Highclere, enjoy a Champagne reception and a fabulous three-course lunch with paired wines at The Vineyard.

Chef Robby Jenks once again prepared the most exquisite menu not just for the lunch, but also for the array of sweet treats for the afternoon tea, which was gladly received upon the return from the castle tour.

The Vineyard Hotel, a Relais & Châteaux 5 star hotel and spa, is renowned for its impeccable service, 3 AA Rosette restaurant and award-winning, 30,000-bottle wine cellar. All guests highly praised chef Robby Jenks and his brigade.

Even the short coach journey to Highclere Castle was enjoyed, driving through the beautiful countryside, taking in the green fields dotted with sheep and new born baby lambs, one of the sure signs of spring, to finally reveal a stunning country house set within a 5,000-acre estate in Hampshire, the country retreat of the Earl of Carnarvon. Highclere was a filming location for the British comedy series Jeeves and Wooster and it was also more recently used as the main location for the award-winning period drama Downton Abbey. We even had an actor amongst our guests, a proud extra who took part in many episodes in the series and proved to be quite a character.

This year we also offered a visit to the Egyptian Exhibition, which highlighted the 5th Earl of Carnarvon’s role in discovering the Tomb of the Egyptian Boy Pharaoh, Tutankhamun, in 1922 with his colleague, Howard Carter. We all learned something new that day and those of us who love history, came away a little bit curious.

In the words of one of our guests: “We had a wonderful day at Highclere Castle and the food and the service at The Vineyard were outstanding, we will definitely come back! Today we were introduced to Hospitality Action and feel privileged to have attended this fundraiser and to have contributed to such a great cause, we will make sure we support your charity in the future!”

The raffle and live auction raised £13,000 and we are hugely grateful to Greenclose Hotels Limited, The Marylebone, Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, Tyddyn Llan, The House near Bath, Firmdale Hotels, CH&Co and Sidoli who donated prizes.

We are extremely grateful to The Vineyard for hosting the event, to Taittinger Champagne for providing the bubbles for the drinks reception and to Hatch Mansfield for pairing up wines with the menu. We thank all of our sponsors for continuing to support our fundraising efforts and contributing with such special care and attention to ensure our event offer experiences to remember.

The funds raised will be used directly to support our charity work, to provide a much needed support, often a lifeline, to current and former hospitality industry workers who find themselves in difficult times, both at work and in their personal lives.

The reality is that hospitality is everywhere in our lives and we believe that the hard working people offering hospitality should not remain faceless or suffer in silence. After all how can you deliver great service with a smile if you don’t feel like smiling?

If you would like to be informed about our work and attend future events, please sign up to our newsletter here.

If you would like to get involved, donate a prize, nominate us as your charity or have an idea, we would love to hear from you fundraising@hospitalityaction.org.uk

Rugby Legends and Super Chefs Raise £40,000 for HA!

On Monday evening we hosted our inaugural Rugby Legends Dinner at Deer Park Country House Hotel. It was a tremendous occasion which raised a whopping £40,000!

Our 200 guests enjoyed delicious food prepared by a brigade of some of the UK’s pre-eminent chefs, all from or with links to the west country; Dominic Chapman of The Beehive, White Waltham, Jude Kereama of Kota, Nathan Outlaw of Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen, Josh Eggleton of The Pony & Trap, Guy Owen of The Idle Rocks, Paul Ainsworth of Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 and Michael Wignall formerly of Gidleigh Park. Thanks also goes to Hadleigh Barrett, Executive Chef at Deer Park for opening his kitchen to us!

Stuffed courgette flower with burrata, artichokes, beetroot & sultanas, pine nut vinaigrette by Dominic Chapman, The Beehive

Our lucky guests also enjoyed the company of a host of rugby union superstars who entertained us all with tales from on and off the pitch. We are extremely grateful to them all for giving up their time free of charge; David Flatman, Phil Vickery MBE DL, Jeremy Guscott, Alex Brown, Phil Dollman, David Flatman, Andy Hazell, Kai Horstmann, Lee Mears, Matt Powell, Nigel Redman Andy Reed, Gareth Steenson, and Nolli Waterman alongside football legend Paul Tisdale.

L-R: Nathan Outlaw, Phil Vickery MBE DL, Guy Owen, Josh Eggleton and David Flatman

We are of course also indebted to our headline sponsor Sharp’s Brewery for their tremendous support, without them the event would not have been possible. Special mention also goes to Chase Distillery, Enotria&Coe, Exposure Photo Agency, Oliver Harvey, The Pig, Salt Media, Total Produce, Udale Speciality Foods and Wing of St Mawes for being so generous.

Events like these are only made possible thanks to the dedicated supporters who give up their time to help us on a voluntary basis, people like Andrew Foulkes MI who masterminded the event and Mark Godfrey FIH MI who gave us free rein of Deer Park Hotel. Needless to say we are always in need of ambassadors just like Andrew and Mark, from right across the UK, to lend their support. If you’d like to get involved in the charity, in any way, shape or form, please give me a ring on 020 3004 5504. It would be great to hear from you.

Far from quiet on the Southwestern front … how regional boards are helping Hospitality Action

Yesterday morning I visited Lucknam Park to attend the HA Southwest board meeting. That’s me in the middle, surrounded by a crack team of fundraising supporters from the southwest region.

From left to right, they are: Lucknam Park chairman Harry Murray, Whatley Manor GM Sue Williams, executive chairman of Calcot Hotels Richard Ball, Pride of Britain chief executive Peter Hancock, Cotswold House Hotel GM Craig Webb, Deer Park MD Mark Godfrey, Creed Foodservice MD Philip de Ternant, ML, Cornwall educator Stuart Mathieson, AA Hotel Services MD Simon Numphud, hotel consultant and former Le Manoir director/GM Philip Newman-Hall, and educator Bridget Halford.

Not too a shabby a line up, I think you’ll agree. And there are other members not present yesterday.

We’re lucky to have their support. HA relies on fundraising to be able to offer support to people who work or have worked in hospitality and find themselves in crisis. All of these board members give up their precious time to volunteer to support our work.

We currently have three regional boards, covering the North, the Southwest and London. I can’t stress enough how invaluable their work is. Together, they raised almost £500,000 for Hospitality Action in 2017. The Southwest board alone raised £130,000.

This year, the Southwest board will host a Rugby Legends Dinner at Deer Park, a tour of Highclere with lunch at tea at the Vineyard, the Cotswold Cycle Challenge and September’s charity polo day.

Just as importantly, board members will act as ambassadors for HA, evangelising about its services and encouraging industry peers to match their support.

This year, we plan to extend our network of regional boards. Are you based in Scotland, Wales, the Midlands or East Anglia? And would you like too contribute to HA’s work?

If the answer’s ‘yes’, I’d love to hear from you at mlewis@hospitalityaction.org.uk or on 07919 324978.

Meanwhile, thank you to every one of our regional board members. Together, you are helping strengthen HA, your industry’s safety net.