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!

Mental Health First Aider, an important role in every business

Following last week’s #timetotalkday which encouraged people to talk about mental health in their personal and professional life, we are proud to announce that we have our own mental health first aider at Hospitality Action. Here, newly-qualified MHFA Jo Raine, tells us a bit about her new role.

Global research indicates that one person in four will experience some form of mental health issue in the course of a year. Anxiety, depression and substance use disorders are the most common mental health illnesses in the UK. Throughout the course of any person’s life it is highly likely they will either develop mental ill health themselves or have a friend or relative who does. Yet the long-standing stigma around mental illness means that many people have a limited understanding of mental health issues and fail to seek the support they need.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally recognised education and training programme. The aim of the programme is to extend the concept of first aid training to include mental health issues so that help can be offered to a person developing a mental health issue, experiencing the worsening of an existing mental health issue or in a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate professional help is received or until the crisis appears to have been resolved.

When Hospitality Action decided to introduce a Mental Health First Aider to our office, I was delighted to be given the opportunity to train for the role. Having completed the two–day course to become a certified mental health first aider I now feel confident that I can recognise many of the signs and symptoms of common mental health illnesses and could effectively guide a colleague to appropriate support.

We learnt how to recognise the signs that someone may be experiencing a mental health issue. The course covered some challenging areas, such as myth-busting common misconceptions about suicide and self-harm, and there was plenty of time for questions and discussion of the role of mental first aid when someone is undergoing a crisis.

The training covers how to provide non-judgemental support and reassurance to a person who is experiencing a mental health issue and guide them to seek the professional support they may need to recover. It also touched on issues such as providing Mental Health First Aid to someone from a different cultural background, which is more likely to occur in the workplace than when supporting family and friends.

Independent research and evaluation shows that taking part in a Mental Health First Aid course raises awareness of mental illnesses, encourages early intervention to aid recovery, increases confidence in dealing with mental illnesses and reduces stigma. Thanks to the development of training courses like the one I went on, employers now have an opportunity to address ignorance about mental health in the workplace and help their employees to access appropriate support.

Happy and healthy staff are more likely to perform well, have good attendance levels, interact well with colleagues and make a valuable contribution to the workplace. Investing in a Mental Health First Aider is one important way in which employers can promote positive mental health in the workplace, for the benefit of all of us.

Our Employee Assistance Programme provides operators with access to a range of support services and counselling, to find out more contact Camilla Woods.

Watching the pounds

There are loads of ways to fundraise for Hospitality Action.

One of the simplest and most effective is simply adding a discretionary £1 to guest bills. Our bill round-up programme is one of the fastest growing, and easiest ways to support your industry charity. In our experience guests are only too happy to contribute to the good of the industry they so admire, and it’s a great conversation starter.

One of the businesses to pioneer £1 on the bill in 2017 was the fabulous team at The Vineyard at Stockcross, who raised over £7000 in their first year running the scheme.  It’s amazing that something so simple can quickly gather momentum and drive some seriously life-changing funds for Hospitality Action.

We asked The Vineyard’s Restaurant Manager Rebecca to tell us a little bit more about fundraising for HA.

How easy did you find it to set-up and implement the scheme? 

The set up and implementation of the scheme was very easy and we had all the support we needed from HA

How did you promote the scheme and its benefits to guests? 

It is written on to the bill and we keep the leaflets available if anyone wants to have further information as well as briefing the teams who feel confident to talk about the charity and its work.

What were the guest reactions to the scheme when you told them about it?

On the whole they were happy to pay the pound – some choose not to if they have other charities they support but on the whole it has been very well supported and there’s never been an awkward moment.

The scheme at The Vineyard raised around £7,000 for Hospitality Action – how do you feel about that? 

Very happy – that’s 7,000 diners who have supported a scheme which means that the teams that looked after them have support later on in life if they need it.

What do you think are the benefits of supporting a charity like Hospitality Action? 

We have always had a charity that we raise money for – it is great that this charity now directly links into what we do – if people enjoy dining and staying out then supporting a charity like this makes complete sense. The story of Le Manoir’s Mitchell Collier really impacted our team and brought home to us how important it is to do our bit for HA.

Would you recommend the scheme to other restaurants, and if so, why?

Yes – that such a small amount on each bill can raise so much money is fantastic. And again, being part of something that directly links to each individual who works here has raised further awareness of the benefits available to them.

Adding just £1 may not seem like much, but you’ll be amazed at how much money you can raise to support your colleagues and fellow industry professionals through times of hardship.

We want as many businesses as possible to take up the scheme which can easily be applied to hotel stays as well as restaurant bills.

To get started email us and we’ll give you all the resources you need. You can find further info about the programme on our website, or check out or blog over on the Social Sunday website to discover how Hai Cenato ran with the idea to do something fantastic.