Beer, barbecue and bringing teams together – how EatDrinkSleep are marking Social Sunday

Social Sunday‘s footprint grows apace.

This week, EATDRINKSLEEP, a group of three inns comprising The Old Coastguard and Gurnard’s Head in West Cornwall, and The Felin Fach Griffin in the Brecon Beacons, have announced their plans.

EATDRINKSLEEP’s planned fund-raising efforts include a fundraising BBQ and live music afternoon in the gardens of The Old Coastguard; a sponsored walk between the two Cornwall properties; and the launch of Social Session, a beer that’s been specially commissioned from local brewer Cornish Crown to celebrate Social Sunday. Local businesses have offered up prizes for a raffle, too.

In parallel with these fantastic efforts, the group will be running I’ve Got Your Back, a staff campaign across its three sites that will champion the importance of teamwork and taking care of one other.

As they put it, “The campaign will focus on those small things that the team as individuals can do to make a difference: looking at the person working next to you, checking in with them to ensure all is fine, taking a moment out from the daily workload, remembering the impact of what we say and do.”

There’s much to love about these plans.

First, Social Sunday has its own beer – how exciting is that?!

Second, we love the fact that they’ve used their imaginations to come up with a range of fundraising routes.

And third, and arguably most importantly, we love the way EATDRINKSLEEP are using our campaign to lodge wellness and shared responsibility for their teams’ mental health tighter into the DNA of the group.

Charles Inkin, who runs the group with his brother Edmund, says “The work of Hospitality Action and their national Social Sunday campaign triggered us into thinking about what we want to do to make a difference.

“I’ve Got your Back was the answer: a month of our teams reminding each other that they need each other’s help to make the best of themselves. The challenge of mental health is a very real one and we think good communication is part of the solution.”

Bravo Charlie, both for your support and Edmund’s, and for creating some innovative fundraising ideas that other operators can follow.

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.

Coming soon from Hospitality Action: a mental health awareness toolkit

I couldn’t let the start of another Mental Health Awareness Week go by without blogging.

This time last year, Hospitality Action marked the week with a breakfast event, at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, at which we launched the results of a survey we’d conducted into the prevalence of mental health issues in the hospitality workplace.

The results were as alarming as you’d expect.

Only 5% of respondents reported that their job is rarely stressful. A worrying 80% told us that their job is stressful sometimes or most of the time. And 51% – over half! – described their job as being stressful most or all of the time.

Later last year, we partnered with The Caterer on a special edition of the magazine, focussing on mental health in hospitality. This special report provided bagfuls of research, case studies and advice. What it didn’t do, one or two hospitality leaders pointed out, was address the issue of mental wellness at manager level. It falls to managers to support the mental wellbeing of their teams; but who can they turn to when they experience challenges of their own?

This week, The Caterer’s Kat Price has published Lonely at the Top, an excellent, insightful article that presents three case studies of managers who’ve faced their own mental challenges: Philip Newman-Hall, Giovanna Grossi and Peter Avis.

Hats off to Kat and The Caterer for this important coverage. And huge respect to Giovanna, Philip and Peter for their bravery and their frankness. an excellent read, one that’s sure to give many hospitality managers the courage to reach out for help.

We aren’t marking Mental Health Awareness Week with research or an event, this year. We will of course be playing an active part in the week through social media channels.

Later this year, though, you can expect to see a major new campaign from us, offering a toolkit of print, digital and rich media assets enabling managers to start conversations with their teams, and reassure them that, as Peter Avis said to Kat, it’s okay not to be okay.

We’re your industry charity, and we’re here to help you. It’s what we do.

A postscript: as a result of our work around last year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, I connected with and then met Norfolk chef Charlie Hodson, a force of nature and a force for good. we’re now good friends, and Charlie is one of HA’s most vocal advocates and strongest supporters. Our relationship is proof-positive that it’s #timetotalk.

 

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!!