Hospitality Action

27 March 2008

Hospitality Action is a benevolent organisation for hospitality people, where the definition of hospitality is ‘the direct provision of food, drink or accommodation away from home.’ It provides a service for and from the people of the industry. Originally called the ‘London Coffee House Keepers Association’, the description of what they do has changed only slightly over the years. The initial statement said the company was in place for; ‘...relieving aged and decayed members of the trade, their widows and orphans [who] from reverses of fortune might be reduced from a state of comparative prosperity to the alternative of dragging out a miserable existence within the walls of a work house.’ (Rules and Regulations LCHKA 1837)

The company has operated under a number of names including; The Catering Benevolent Association, The Hotel and Catering Benevolent Association and finally Hospitality Action in 1998. In spite of the name changing repeatedly since its establishment, what they do has remained pretty much the same as is described above. They are all about the welfare of the people within the hospitality industry.

There are three types of membership for Hospitality Action (HA). First of all there is the simple Individual Membership. This costs £25 per annum and has a few other benefits to the membership. There is a Guardian Membership. This is only available by invitation from the Trustees of HA and is reserved for highly respected individuals within the industry. There is also a Corporate Membership which is available to any business in the hospitality industry for only £50 per year and carries a number of benefits.

Hospitality Action helps its members in a number of different ways through the provision of a number of different services. The Ark Foundation is a service offered by Hospitality Action for the education of students, employees and managers as to the dangers of alcohol and drug misuse. It is an initiative that is aimed at the prevention of drug and alcohol misuse within the industry and the rehabilitation of members who have fallen victim.

Grants are also available from Hospitality Action in certain circumstances. The grant applicant must fit a number of criteria which are not too exclusive.

There are two types of grant currently available. Firstly, an Essential Needs grant. This is awarded for assistance towards the cost of an item or need, considered essential for the well being or improving the quality of life of the applicant. Secondly, there is a Crisis Grant. These grants are awarded to applicants of working age who have suffered a sudden loss of income due to bereavement, illness or injury. Awards are for a maximum of one year and up to a maximum of £20/week. The grant aims to assist with the general living costs of the applicant for a set time so that they have time to adjust to their new circumstances before returning to work.

Hospitality Action is able to sustain its operations by a number of means. Amongst these are; payroll giving - the monthly donation of a small amount of your salary; volunteering - simply volunteering your time to help out with activities; becoming a member and also, company sponsorship. HA also puts on a number of fundraising events throughout the year, such as dinners, It’s a Knockout Challenges and Auctions.

Paul B Dermody OBE is the current chair of the North West branch of the organisation. As a long standing and well respected member of the industry, he has seen what can happen to people in hospitality and what Hospitality Action can do for them.

“We never know what the future holds, but friends are always there for us. By becoming one of ours you will have befriended many more in the Industry when they need that little bit of extra support to see them through.â€? (HA)

“Together we can make a real impact on people’s lives and be there to help them cope during their bad times – accident, illness or bereavement.â€? (HA)

To find out more about Hospitality Action, visit the website.