Blog. Golden Friendships
June 4, 2021 | Author: Giuliana Vittiglio
Our befriending and support network helps our hospitality retirees, our Golden Friends, stay connected to their industry. Having spent a lifetime in the service of others it’s only right that they receive our support as they get older. At the heart of our scheme is a befriending service where we keep in regular contact with our members. At the peak of lockdown, we increased our network of volunteer telephone befrienders to 250 people who between them made over 2000 ‘check-in calls’ to our Golden Friends to offer support to them and their wider household.
Kevin Haygarth is just one of our amazing volunteers. Co-founder & Director of Hospitality Associates, HA Ambassador and Regional Chair of HA’s Northern Board we caught up with Kevin to learn a little more about what our Golden Friends scheme means to him.
Q: How long have you been volunteering with Hospitality Action (HA) and how did you get involved with the Golden Friends (GF) telephone befriending service?
I have been involved with HA since January 2012, and I agreed to become a GF befriender when a message was sent from the head office to ask if anybody would consider helping out during the first lockdown. I jumped at the chance as I have a desire to give back to the industry; I was matched with Stephen.
Q: You’re Chair of our Northern Board. What first motivated you to volunteer for HA?
As I say, I have always wanted to help out and give something back to others. We have all had our ups and downs throughout our lives and careers, and we all know how hard it has been these last 14 months in particular. I guess that anything I can do to help others, no matter how small it may seem to me, may just have a significant impact on someone else’s life, which makes me happy.
Q: Tell us a little about your Golden Friend.
Stephen is an ex-chef. A man with many stories and experiences. We share recipes and ideas and have some very detailed and quality conversations. Recently Stephen put coffee on his porridge instead of sugar, by accident, and hey presto; a new recipe was created!
Q: How often do you call?
We speak on a weekly basis.
Q: Can you describe what you find most satisfying about supporting your Golden Friend?
We laugh. We can be candid about the past and thoughtful about the future. Stephen looks forward to our calls, as do I. We share many things and can be open with one another; it is a welcome release from day to day life with someone that you’ve never met!