So you think you know what Hospitality Action does? Think again.

 

They used to run an advert for the Radio Times on the telly. If you remember it, you’re a fifty-something like me, or older. The pages of the magazine would flick before you, lingering on the week’s best content – “Petula Clark celebrates 50 years of the vote for women! Stewpot takes the Treasure Trail! Why you should never argue with a Sagittarian!” – before an awe-struck reader delivered the pay-off line: “I never knew there was so much in it.”

The Mad Men and Women of the advertising world could easily apply the same creative concept to Hospitality Action.

Ours is a complicated story to tell. We offer grants, counselling, family days out, a retiree befriending scheme, addiction awareness seminars and an employee assistance programme. We support people who are about to start work in the industry, people who currently work in the industry, people who have retired from the industry – and their partners and children.

No wonder people are often confused by exactly what Hospitality Action is and what it does.

Someone in the industry recently asked: “HA, that’s the charity for the homeless, right?” And another told me: “you’re the people who help drunk chefs.” Well, yes, yes – and no.

Yes, we help industry professionals unable to pay for a roof over their head. And yes, we support people with a range of addiction challenges. But we do much, much more besides.

Simply put, HA is a force for good. We offer lifelines to people who work or have worked in hospitality and find themselves in difficulty or crisis.

Behind their smiles and their game faces, hospitality professionals are as prone to life’s challenges as we all are – that’s where HA comes in.

We help people set their lives back on track. This might mean funding home adaptations for someone dealing with the onset of a life-changing medical condition. It could mean helping a victim of domestic abuse to start a new life. It could be laying on Golden Friends lunches or teas to keep loneliness at bay for industry retirees. Or it could take the shape of offering crisis support to teams dealing with traumatic events like the London Bridge or Manchester Arena attacks.

Whatever the challenges are that beset the human condition, HA can help overcome them.

See – I bet you never knew there was so much to us?

 

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

Can you imagine a world without volunteers? We couldn’t.

Without our volunteers, we couldn’t run our Golden Friends scheme.

Our Golden Friends get-togethers enable industry retirees from all walks of life, who usually dine alone, to socialise without discrimination and meet like-minded people.

Without our volunteers we would have no one to meet and greet Golden Friends at our lunches and teas – no one to spot the guest who is on their own and might be a little nervous, welcome them with a friendly smile, introduce them to other members and get them chatting like they’ve been coming for years.

Here’s proof from a Golden Friend:

“My husband & I had worked together in the licenced trade for some years.
When he was diagnosed with vascular dementia it wasn’t even a question that I would care for him. As the years progressed his personality changes became very distressing and at times heart-breaking.

For me, Golden Friend lunches were an escape to a place where no-one knew my personal circumstances – a place where I could chat and laugh with people my own age and share past stories from the industry, in what felt like a guilt free environment. After my husband passed away the lunches are my happy place through difficult times and a chance to make and continue friendships.”

Continue reading “Can you imagine a world without volunteers? We couldn’t.”

Sushi masters, cricket matches and communal tables: Social Sunday is just one month away!

Social Sunday is just one month away today, and chefs across the nation are hatching some grand plans to mark it and raise funds for Hospitality Action. and help transform hospitality lives.

Social Sunday was the brainchild of Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton. For three years, Jason, principle patron of HA, has run the event to fundraise for the charity. Since launching Social Sunday in 2015, he has raised over £100,000 to help his fellow hospitality professionals.

This year, on 1 July, we’re taking the concept nationwide – and operators are  finding some imaginative ways of supporting.

As usual, Jason’s London restaurants will play host to a fantastic roster of guest chefs, among them Tom Aikens, Tom Sellers, Paul Ainsworth, Martin Morales, Clare Smyth and sushi master, Endo Kazutoshi.

At Dom Chapman’s Beehive in White Waltham, meanwhile, Social Sunday will be piggy-backing lunch service, a hog roast and a spot of cricket.

HA patron and super-supporter Heston Blumenthal is adding a £1 donation on all bills at The Fat Duck, The Hinds Head, The Crown, The Perfectionists’ Café and Dinner by Heston London during the week of Social Sunday.

Another HA patron, Tom Kerridge, is kindly donating a percentage of takings at the Hand and Flowers and the Coach on 1 July.

Further west, Niall Keating and The Caterer’s Hotelier of the Year Sue Williams are welcoming the legend that is Sat Bains to Whatley Manor, where Niall and Sat will be cooking up an eight-course storm together.

Further up the country, at Manchester’s Hotel Football, there’s a Sunday lunch in our honour …

… and Gary Usher’s growing northwest empire (well done on the Pinion crowdfunding triumph – £86k!!) will be holding Social Sunday dinners in all four of its restaurants: Sticky Walnut, Wreckfish, Hispi and Burnt Truffle. Guests at all venues will enjoy five-course tasting menus at communal tables, in keeping with the social aspect of the evening.

North of the border, Tom Kitchin will be adding £1 to every bill throughout July.

With Social Sunday four weeks away, there’s still time to find your own way to support Hospitality Action. Please shout if you need our help.