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.”

Golden Friend in Berkshire

In the evening or at the weekend, meanwhile, our Phone Friends offer a friendly voice on the phone to a Golden Friend when the door is closed, isolation has set in and their only company is the television. As well as providing companionship, our Phone Friends can check and see that everything is ok with their Golden Friend.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Our Golden Friends newsletter goes out to over 1,400 Golden Friends and they eagerly look forward to it. It’s not just that feeling of something through the post that isn’t junk mail, or a bill. Our Golden Friends newsletter is specifically written with them in mind. It gives them useful information on where to go to get help, what’s going on in the hospitality industry and the wider world, and interesting facts and ideas for living well.

Our Golden Friends would not receive the newsletter on time without the support of our volunteers, who come in to HA HQ and help label the envelopes, stuff the newsletters and get them franked and in the post.

We have mentioned before our volunteer Denise who comes in and writes all the birthday cards for our Golden Friends and their partners – some 2,000 cards a year.

A huge thank you to all our volunteers, not forgetting our fundraising volunteers, committee members and trustees. You all give your time and energy for free to ensure we can continue to support past and present industry members.

Over the coming months we are going to share more detailed stories of our wonderful volunteers, their passion for the industry and the amazing time and energy they give for free to Hospitality Action, to ensure that hospitality employees aren’t forgotten when they retire.

We salute you all during Volunteer Week – and all year round.

For more information on volunteering or donating a get-together with Hospitality Action visit the supporting our Golden Friends page.