Aylsham deli owner and Hospitality Action Norfolk Ambassador Charlie Hodson reports on where help is available for those in need
Thankfully, we are finally returning to what feels a little closer to normality as shops, hotels, pubs and restaurants reopen after what has felt like months of forced intermittent hibernation. And, it must, of course, be said, these businesses never had any intention or desire to close!
Normally the Norfolk hospitality sector, especially on the North Norfolk coast, does not stop. We are a year-round destination.
Many businesses have shown amazing fortitude and really thought outside the box during lockdown. For some they have been able to get through this difficult period by delivering delicious food to your door, and others have offered a takeaway service. Yet for many, it has just been months of despair.
They worry about the future, with Tier Two restrictions having a massive impact on what many businesses can and cannot do, and there are concerns about future lockdowns, too.
I am a local ambassador for Hospitality Action, a national charity dedicated to those who work in the hospital industry. We provide a 24/7 helpline and we are doing all we can to help, through amazing campaigns like Invisible Chips, where customers donate cash by buying portions of invisible chips, and we hope to launch an Invisible Cheese campaign very soon, too.
In the first lockdown, Hospitality Action launched an emergency fund where anyone within the hospitality industry could apply for £250. Within the first hour, more than 21,000 people had applied – and this figure keeps on growing.
Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UK Hospitality, recently predicted a loss of 660,000 jobs within the British hospitality sector so it seems likely that organisations such as Hospitality Action and other vital help groups will become even more crucial. And we must remember to ‘be kind’ to each other – I feel that is how our industry will gain its strength, by standing together in support of one another.
If you are reading this and you are struggling, reach out to Hospitality Action – we are here for you. Equally, if you can also make a donation to this amazing charity, it will be gratefully received.
Hospitality Action is the trade charity for the hospitality industry and has been helping hospitality people in crisis for more than 180 years. Today, it provides financial, physical and psychological support to help beneficiaries overcome adversity and get back to work as quickly as possible. For those unable to return to work it supports them as they transition to the next phase of their lives. In addition, its Employee Assistance Programme supports industry professionals by providing specialist, independent and confidential advice, support and assistance, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.
Where to find help and advice:
Hospitality Action – www.hospitalityaction.org.uk
- The Samaritans – www.samaritans.org
- Mind – www.mind.org.uk