Blog. A wave of kindness meets a deluge of desperation

March 23, 2020 | Author: Mark Lewis

A wave of kindness meets a deluge of desperation

During the past week, following the unprecedented change to our lives and businesses brought about by the rapid spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus, we have experienced support and demand, the likes of which we have never before seen at Hospitality Action.

The outpouring of support from UK hospitality and its guests and customers has been heart-warming. Chefs like Tom Brown, Raymond Blanc, Simon Rimmer and Tom Kerridge took to the airwaves and to their social media platforms to reach out to their audiences and ask for help. The donations poured in, with customers donating the price of a meal and fellow hospitality workers giving whatever they could to help colleagues in a more perilous position than their own.

Businesses across the UK also reached out to us. And donations are being added to home delivery drinks, food kits and voucher purchases across the UK as the out of home market moves in-home. At the time of writing, over £91,000 has been donated, every penny of which will go to those facing hardship.

The deluge of demand for our help has been unprecedented. When news spread of our grant on social media, we could barely cope with the traffic it created. Over 2 million people were reached by a Facebook post signposting the grant (we normally reach closer to 2000). Our website traffic increased from a few hundred visitors a day to over 51,000, temporarily taking it offline on Sunday. In the moments before the grant launched on Monday, visitors waiting on our site had topped 5,000. Within the first hour of opening the scheme we already had enough applications to pay out every penny raised.

The numbers don’t lie: despite the government’s promised aid package, hospitality workers are scared about their immediate future. And they’re worried they won’t be able to feed their families.

We’re not going to make political statements - the inimitable Kate Nicholls of UK Hospitality advocates like nobody else for our industry in the corridors of power. But from an HA perspective, a human perspective, our industry needs us now more than ever. And for as long as we can our message remains, we’ve got you.

From my two decades proudly serving UK hospitality and admiring its resilience, I know it  will emerge from this crisis stronger than ever. But for now our focus must be on supporting our most vulnerable colleagues. Every penny you give will go straight to those who need it most – so please donate now.