Back in 2015, Hospitality Action ran an awareness campaign that featured celebrity chefs made up and posed to look as if they were experiencing some the challenges our recipients face in real life.
Tom Kerridge, oxygen line to his nostrils, embodied critical illness. A haunted Jason Atherton represented addiction. And Angela Hartnett wore the cuts and bruises of domestic violence.
I remember when the campaign premiered at the Cateys, that July. There were gasps of shock around the Great Room at the Grosvenor House Hotel as the gruelling images flashed up on the big screen to the soundtrack of a thudding heartbeat.
At the end of the photo shoot for her advert, Angela was able to wash off her make-up and head back behind the stove. Samantha Thompson, a catering assistant from the Midlands, didn’t have that luxury.
Samantha knows all about domestic abuse. She lived with an abusive partner for long enough for distress to spiral into depression. In time, her partner moved out, but by then Samantha, normally a bubbly and vivacious personality, felt unable to return to work.
With no income, Samantha’s money quickly ran low. Worse, her ex-partner had taken with him many of the household items they had accumulated, leaving Samantha with a broken cooker, no bedding and no curtains in her bedroom.
HA exists to help people in crisis, people like Samantha. Our grant put a working cooker back in her kitchen and curtains in her window. It also helped with general living costs. More importantly, it gave her back her privacy and her dignity, and allowed her to make a fresh start.
Samantha go in touch with us, a while later.
“Your help meant everything to me”, she told us. “Without your support I would have had a home but nothing inside. I had no money to buy these things and nowhere else to turn. Thank you.”
Crisis can hit any of us, at any time; that’s an unalterable fact that HA can’t change. But with your support, we can help people like Samantha negotiate moments of crisis in their lives.