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.

 

 

Industry supports Le Tour de Cuisine!

On Monday last week over 200 cyclists set off on our Le Tour de Cuisine Cotswold Cycle Challenge. The event, sponsored by Calcot, Sky and Technogym, has raised a phenomenal £37,000 and counting!

Sixty cyclists joined us for a delicious pasta supper at The Gumstool Inn in the grounds of the Calcot Manor hotel on Sunday evening. As well as loading up on carbs, it was also an opportunity to swap top cycling tips ahead of the big day. It was Calcot’s equivalent of the HA Social Sunday event and they kindly donated all proceeds from the three-course meal.

Fifty cyclists were up and ready for the start at 8am, some having made the three hour journey up from London that morning (not on the bike!). Everyone was in high spirits despite what lay ahead!
A further 100 cyclists joined us for the 60 and 40 mile routes while
another 50 cyclists took on the 20 mile challenge.

Team Sky getting ready for 100 miles
The Gold Key Media Team set off for 60 miles

The ride was certainly tough but the hospitality along the way was, as you would expect, excellent! There was a feeding station at The Village Hall in Barnsley, catered for by the team at Barnsley House, as well as another at The Painswick. Riders also enjoyed refreshments laid on by
The Protein Ball Company, Nestlé and Creed Foodservice.

The Chewton Glen 100 milers
Mark Godfrey from Deer Park Hotel in his dinner jacket!
The Vacherin Team setting off on the 100 mile route

Meanwhile, some cyclists stopped for what was described as ‘the best mac n cheese ever’ at Whatley Manor. Some even ended up doing 40 extra miles just so that they could double back to Whatley for an extra helping!

At 2pm the tired-looking cyclists began to cross the finishing line but we were ready for them with a medal and a glass of Taittinger Champagne, courtesy of Hatch Mansfield. Calcot also laid on a great BBQ with the kind help of Creed Foodservice team and the cyclists sat in the hotel garden enjoying the sunshine as they waited for their team mates to return.

Creed Foodservice at the BBQ after their ride

This was truly a day to celebrate the industry we work in and it was humbling to welcome back our cyclists after an extremely tough challenge.

The Arch Hotel Team with their medals
Team Sky after the challenge with their medals

Well done to everyone who participated, you guys really are all
amazing
and such an inspiration!

Teams who took part included Sky, the Calcot Collection, Bespoke Hotels, CH&Co Group, Chewton Glen, Creed Foodservice, Exclusive Hotels,
Gold Key Media, Greenclose Hotels, Lucknam Park, Red Carnation Hotels, The Arch, The Pig Hotels, Vacherin, Preferred Hotels & Resorts,
Farncombe Estate, The Vineyard, Firmdale Hotels, Total Produce,
Whatley Manor and The Goring.

Here’s to Le Tour de Cuisine Cotswold Cycle Challenge 2019 – if you would like to join in the fun next year and raise some funds for the charity,
please email me via astrid@hospitalityaction.org.uk

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.