Egg-chasers and extraordinary food – how southwest hoteliers are helping HA

In just over two months Hospitality Action will host its first Rugby Legends Dinner sponsored by Sharp’s Brewery at the beautiful Deer Park Country House Hotel in Devon. Last week I was fortunate enough to visit Deer Park for a final planning meeting. There was so much passion to support HA in the meeting, that I thought I’d convey some of it in this post.

Since June 2009 our South West fundraising board have worked tirelessly to raise funds on our behalf. From our annual Polo Day to our growing Cotswold Cycle Challenge our board members have always gone to great lengths to show their support. Richard Ball of Calcot Hotels has cycled thousands of miles and Philip Newman Hall, formally of Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, took to the sky only to jump 10,000 feet back down again, all in the name of charity.

The Rugby Legends Dinner is the brainchild of Andrew Foulkes, 2017 Cateys Manager of the Year, and Tom Ross, Operations Director, at The Pig. Both avid rugby fans and prominent South West hoteliers they have called in every favour to ensure the event is a whopping success. On the night over 200 lucky guests will enjoy a fabulous drinks reception and four course meal prepared by seven award-wining chefs including two Michelin star holder Nathan Outlaw (Restaurant Nathan Outlaw) and one Michelin star holders Paul Ainsworth (Paul Ainsworth at Number 6) and Josh Eggleton (The Pony & Trap).  Each diner will also be entertained by our guest speaker, former England player and renowned TV pundit, David “Flats” Flatman alongside a host of rugby stars including Phil Vickery MBE DL and Jeremy Guscott.

The evening will also see our legends answering questions from the crowd. The Six Nations will have just finished at the time of the event making this the perfect chance to speak to our legends about the championship. Although this is our first Rugby Legends Dinner there is already talk of a second, perhaps at a rugby stadium, in 2020!

Last year alone we spent £121,023 supporting hospitality employees in crisis in the South West, the most we spent in any region across the UK. It is only thanks to the enthusiasm, dedication and passion of Andrew Foulkes, Stuart Mathieson, Mark Godfrey, Tom Ross and Philip Newman Hall that the event is taking place and for this we are truly grateful.

Tickets to this unmissable evening are limited and I would advise you booking as soon as possible in order to secure your place! If you’d like to get further involved in our work, just like our South West Board, please don’t hesitate to give me a ring: 020 3004 5504

The flicks and some chips … it’s the little things that matter


A friend told me at this week’s Master Innholders Hotel General Managers’ Conference, that they’d recently donated £120 for Hospitality Action – and then apologised for not raising more.

I quickly put them right. Every pound helps. For instance, it costs us just £60 to underwrite an HA Family Day Out, which gives a family needing some “us” time and some fun a trip to a cinema or a leisure attraction plus a bite to eat. In other words, the £120 my friend donated will pay for two of these priceless experiences for families connected to hospitality.

When life is challenging, a break from the norm can be transformative. Don’t take it from me, though. A little Scottish boy called Liam, whose family had enjoyed a day out on us recently, wrote to Liz on HA’s Grants team to thank her. That’s Liam’s writing at the top of this post.

He’d enjoyed HA family days out, before.

Liam’s latest day out was to the cinema. I’ll let him tell the story.

HA is so many things to so many people. A new boiler to keep the cold out, maybe, or some counselling after the loss of a loved one. Advice on safeguarding against addiction. A card at Christmas.

For Liam, it was a day out with his Dad to treasure, an afternoon at the pictures and chips on the way home.

Please don’t ever apologise for supporting HA, however modest your donation. Liam will be very grateful, and so will we.


Starting to tell Hospitality Action’s stories

Welcome to Hospitality Action’s new blog. We’ve created it to enable us to bring to life the many and varied ways in which the charity helps people who work or have worked in the British hospitality industry; and to tell the stories of the thousands of individuals and companies who give up precious time to fundraise for us.

We hope it’ll inspire you to support HA – and perhaps encourage you to reach out for support, yourself.

I was publisher of The Caterer magazine until the beginning of December, when I was privileged to succeed the incomparable Penny Moore as chief executive of HA. However, I’d been a trustee of the charity for twelve years, and I suppose I thought I knew all about its work. Trustees scrutinise the P&L, monitor monies incoming and outgoing, tick the boxes of governance, sometimes rubber-stamp a new project or direction. All important stuff, but removed from the sharp end of helping people in crisis.

I confess, I wasn’t prepared for the stirring stories I’ve heard, in the past weeks, of problems overcome and lives set back on track; the heart-warming letters of thanks I’ve read from beneficiaries for whom HA has provided a new start; or the gruelling cases where the best we can do is provide comfort for people who are never going to recover from their illnesses.

The team at HA is the fulcrum that balances the sky-divers, cyclists and cake bakers who raise funds, and the beneficiaries who need help. They help people in many ways.

One person may need home adaptations to help them to live with a disability; another a respite holiday, from which they’ll return refreshed and better able to care for a loved one.

Funerals are expensive, but we’re on hand to help bereaved people struggling to cover this cost. Financial support can kick-start the lives of people needing to relocate following domestic abuse. And a Family Day Out grant allows parents and children to enjoy a shared experience that’s far more precious than the cinema tickets and popcorn we pay for.

Meanwhile, at this time of year, our winter fuel grants ensure families up and down the country stay warm, healthy and work-ready.

This blog will bring to life the work of HA and its supporters. Where appropriate, it’ll also introduce you to recipients of HA’s support. You’ll know the companies they work for. Who knows, you may recognise or even know some of them. And that’s the point. Crisis can strike anyone, anytime. It’s not something that only affects other people’s lives. Look around the colleagues in your restaurant, bar, hotel or office. Chances are one of them is silently dealing with an issue, mental, physical or financial.

One thing’s for sure: if you find yourself in crisis, HA will be there for you.