How Olleco are turning waste oil into a balm for hospitality people in difficulty

Back in February, I write a blog detailing how cooking oil supplier and recycler, Olleco, supports Hospitality Action as part of its wider CSR commitment. 

“Olleco understand that supporting HA creates a virtuous circle”, I wrote. “By supporting our efforts to keep hospitality professionals happy, healthy and work-ready, they are helping build sustainable businesses around the sector – and therefore future-proofing their own business.”

Kate Mortimer, Olleco’s Group Marketing and Communications Manager, told me: “In 2012 we embarked on a journey to find a charity partner who could help us extend our ethos of care. 
Individuals working within the catering and hospitality sector are key to our business. The very people the charity helps are the people that we deal with on a daily basis, delivering cooking oil and collecting organic waste streams.”

Every time Olleco sells cooking oil or collects used oil from its customers it makes a donation to HA. This summer, the total amount the business has donated has reached a staggering £100,000. One hundred thousand shiny pounds!

It’s no exaggeration to say that HA would be unable to help people like Simon Holwell (pictured at the top of this page and featured in the video above), without the support of Olleco and all the other businesses and individuals who tirelessly raise funds for us.

Congratulations on your milestone and thank you from the team at HA and all our beneficiaries.

Would you like to benefit from the virtuous circle of supporting HA? Drop me a line at mlewis@hospitalityaction.org.uk or call me on 07919 324978.

Credit where due: passing on beneficiaries’ thanks to all our supporters

Of the many reasons for choosing a career in hospitality, one of the foremost has to be the pleasure that comes from being thanked for the food, drink, accommodation or service you’ve provided.

At Hospitality Action, we thrive on positive feedback, too. ‘Thank you’ is a powerful phrase, and we’ve collected backloads of thank you notes from people we’ve helped.

Of course, we can only offer the support that elicits this feedback because of the fundraising that underpins our charity. On that basis, the thanks should really go to you, the selfless people who make our work possible.

You know who you are: consider yourselves well and truly thanked for your generosity of spirit. You are changing lives for the better – as you’ll see from the comments below.

“I am in tears as I type. Thank you so much. You saved my life.”

“Thank you very much for your help to save my house and my life, I couldn’t ask a better person for help.”

“With your help, I’m having the best winter. It is the first time I can have heating without worrying about the bill. It’s wonderful. Thank you for the peace and happiness you have given me.”

“To all the wonderful staff at Hospitality Action, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for all your help since losing my job. I don’t know what I would have done without it.

“Thank you for the vouchers for the afternoon tea. I took my mum with me as she supported me through my treatment. After the trauma of last year, it was lovely to be able to relax and have an afternoon out.”

“Thank you so much. I am utterly speechless and eternally grateful.”

“I just wanted to thank you all for the lovely Christmas card and gift card. When I opened it this morning I cried at the generosity and kindness you have shown.”

“Thank you for the adaptations. I applied to other organisations, but they had either run out of funds or we didn’t fit their criteria. You were quick to reply and made us feel less humble for applying. I can’t thank you enough.”

“Please accept our sincere thanks for your generosity. It has made a world of difference. You made this happen: 😊.”

“Just wanted to say thank you so much for my grant. It has helped me a lot with getting my life back on track.”

“Thank you so much. With the help and support of your kind organisation, it is a lot easier to focus on the positives and a bright future.”

“I cannot express in words the gratitude I have for your charity. I’ll never forget that you helped me at my worst point. Not only have you changed and improved my life and situation, you’ve restored something I haven’t had in a very long time: hope.”

“Thank you doesn’t seem like enough, you are all angels and I am forever grateful for your help.”

“Your grant made such a difference to my mental state, which no doubt helped in the healing process.”

Wanted: volunteers to spread the HA word nationwide – and help hospitality people

Hospitality Action helps people who work or have worked in hospitality and find themselves in difficulty or crisis. We’re only able to do this because of the generosity of our supporters.

Support comes in many forms: people donate, cycle, bake, run, cook and host events for us. Whatever our supporters choose to do, we’re always grateful.

We’re lucky to have three regional committees, whose members give up precious time for free to help put on fundraising events in their region.

In the southwest, Calcot’s Richard Ball heads up a merry band of hoteliers, consultants and suppliers who pull together to deliver events such as the Rugby Legends Dinner, the Southwest Polo Day and the Cotswolds Cycle Challenge.

In the northwest, our fundraising committee led by Kevin Haygarth and Dawn Holding works tirelessly to pull off events like the Northern Lights Dinner, Northern Golf Day and this weekend’s Northwest Polo Day.

And in London, Daniel Pedreschi of Park Plaza Hotels chairs a committee that’s responsible for our annual Big Fat Quiz night and our ever-popular Christmas Dinner.

The hard work of these three boards not only raises hundreds of thousands of pounds for us every year, it also helps promote the work Hospitality Action does, regionally.

In the coming year, I want to extend our network of regional committees to encompass East Anglia, the Heart of England, Wales and Scotland. To do this, I need volunteers to put their hand up and say “I’d like to help Hospitality Action in my region”.

Committee members need to be dedicated, philanthropic, resourceful and persuasive. Do you fit that bill? If so, please contact me at mlewis@hospitalityaction.org.uk or call me on 07919 3234978.

 

 

When the thud of envelope on door mat reminds you the world hasn’t forgotten about you …

This pile of envelopes can only mean one thing: it’s time to ship the latest mailing of our bi-monthly Golden Friends newsletter.

All hands were on deck last Friday – super-volunteer Denise‘s among them – to stuff into envelopes the fifteen hundred copies of the newletter we send out to our Golden Friends.

Golden Friends is a contact scheme for people who have worked within the hospitality industry and are now retired. It is a free scheme and is open to anyone who is over pension age and has worked within the hospitality industry in the UK for at least 7 years.

We use the phrase, Golden Friends, because we hope that the programme’s members are enjoying their golden years. But of course, for too many elderly people, retirement can bring with it loneliness and isolation. The loss of a life partner and worsening mobility only exacerbate this.

As well as the newsletter, the programme sends members birthday and Christmas cards and gifts, and invites them to regional lunches and teas where they can meet old friends and make new ones. (If you can donate a lunch or tea please click here for further details.)

Members can also request an introduction to one of our befriending volunteers, who keep in touch with Golden Friends through home visits and over the phone. I’ve written about my phone friendship with Dora, previously.

The Golden Friends newsletter is a mixed bag of content. The latest edition has information about how to join an audiobook library; advice on how to create bee- and butterfly-friendly gardens; and some enjoyable content about the NHS, which celebrates its 70th birthday this year. Sudoku lovers are well catered for; as are bakers, who’ll enjoy this month’s banana bread recipe.

Our Golden Friends love to browse each new edition. For some of them, points of contact with the outside world are few and far between, so just hearing the thud of post on door mat is a pleasure.

The newsletter is sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Innholders. Bless them for this gift to the people who laid the foundations of today’s hospitality industry. And well done to Hospitality Action’s Jenny Gill for compiling it.

 

Rugby Legends and Super Chefs Raise £40,000 for HA!

On Monday evening we hosted our inaugural Rugby Legends Dinner at Deer Park Country House Hotel. It was a tremendous occasion which raised a whopping £40,000!

Our 200 guests enjoyed delicious food prepared by a brigade of some of the UK’s pre-eminent chefs, all from or with links to the west country; Dominic Chapman of The Beehive, White Waltham, Jude Kereama of Kota, Nathan Outlaw of Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen, Josh Eggleton of The Pony & Trap, Guy Owen of The Idle Rocks, Paul Ainsworth of Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 and Michael Wignall formerly of Gidleigh Park. Thanks also goes to Hadleigh Barrett, Executive Chef at Deer Park for opening his kitchen to us!

Stuffed courgette flower with burrata, artichokes, beetroot & sultanas, pine nut vinaigrette by Dominic Chapman, The Beehive

Our lucky guests also enjoyed the company of a host of rugby union superstars who entertained us all with tales from on and off the pitch. We are extremely grateful to them all for giving up their time free of charge; David Flatman, Phil Vickery MBE DL, Jeremy Guscott, Alex Brown, Phil Dollman, David Flatman, Andy Hazell, Kai Horstmann, Lee Mears, Matt Powell, Nigel Redman Andy Reed, Gareth Steenson, and Nolli Waterman alongside football legend Paul Tisdale.

L-R: Nathan Outlaw, Phil Vickery MBE DL, Guy Owen, Josh Eggleton and David Flatman

We are of course also indebted to our headline sponsor Sharp’s Brewery for their tremendous support, without them the event would not have been possible. Special mention also goes to Chase Distillery, Enotria&Coe, Exposure Photo Agency, Oliver Harvey, The Pig, Salt Media, Total Produce, Udale Speciality Foods and Wing of St Mawes for being so generous.

Events like these are only made possible thanks to the dedicated supporters who give up their time to help us on a voluntary basis, people like Andrew Foulkes MI who masterminded the event and Mark Godfrey FIH MI who gave us free rein of Deer Park Hotel. Needless to say we are always in need of ambassadors just like Andrew and Mark, from right across the UK, to lend their support. If you’d like to get involved in the charity, in any way, shape or form, please give me a ring on 020 3004 5504. It would be great to hear from you.

Beyond the call: how giving up a little time can be gold dust to Hospitality Action

 

Supporting Hospitality Action can take many forms. Sometimes support is financial, sometimes it takes the shape of a time commitment. When it comes to giving up precious time, no HA supporter can ever have been more generous than Denise Haugh. That’s Denise in the photograph, beside me.

Denise worked in hospitality for more than 40 years, and in many capacities. She was a receptionist at the Queens Hotel, Cheltenham, in the 1950s; staff canteen manager at the Science Museum in the 1970s; had a spell with Trust House Forte; and ended her career as senior catering officer at the Metropolitan Police, where she headed up operational catering for officers policing major incidents and events.

After such a long and varied career, Denise could have been forgiven for putting her feet up and enjoying her retirement. But that’s not her style. Since retiring, she has thrown herself headlong into supporting HA in a variety of ways.

It’d be easier to list what Denise hasn’t done for our charity, than what she has. She has visited grant applicants to offer support with their applications. She has hosted lunches and teas for our Golden Friends (retired industry members who find themselves isolated or lonely). She has been a volunteer visitor since the scheme started in 2006, and has made a huge impact on the wellbeing of the Golden Friend she supports.

Despite all this, in 2013, Denise decided that she could still do more to support HA, so she offered to volunteer at our office in Farringdon. She quickly became an invaluable member of the team, and now spends a day a week with us, supporting HA’s Golden Friends scheme.

Every year, Denise writes around 2,000 birthday and Christmas cards to our Golden Friends (sadly, for some, these are the only cards they receive). And, every two months, she stuffs, labels and franks 1500 Golden Friends newsletter mailings.

If you asked Denise why she does all that she does for HA, she’d probably say it’s a way to pay back an industry that gave her a career and a livelihood. In truth, though, it’s the hospitality industry that’s indebted to her for her generosity of time and spirit.

Last month, the HA team contacted the charity, Room to Reward, to nominate Denise for their Hidden Hero scheme. Room to Reward works on a fantastic premise: it asks hoteliers to give up unused room stock to allow it to award well-earned breaks to volunteers for charities across the UK. It’s a way for charities to say ‘thank you’ to their staunchest supporters.

We were all delighted when we learned that our application had been successful. Later this year, Denise will be staying at Balmer Lawn Hotel & Spa, a place she fondly remembers visiting as a child.

Through her work for HA, Denise has made a huge impact on many people’s lives. We’re immensely grateful to her for her hard work and dedication.

We don’t expect every HA supporter to show Denise’s level of commitment. But if you can spare any time at all to raise funds, I’d love to hear from you at mlewis@hospitalityaction.org.uk or on 07919 324978.

Happy holiday, Denise, and thank you.