New Scottish charity for hospitality calls for culture change

Gordon McIntyre

Gordon McIntyre

Head Chef 30th January 2019

New Scottish charity for hospitality calls for culture change

An inspirational new charity dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of those in the tourism industry launched today (Wednesday 30 January) at Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow at a briefing backed by over 100 key industry members.

Encouraging conversation, Peter McKenna, chef patron from the Gannet restaurant, Rosaleen Gillespie, head of people development at Buzzworks Holdings, Gordon McIntyre, chairman of Hospitality Health, Namara Robertson, team leader at Grand Central Hotel, and over 100 industry members came together to back the new charity put and put staff welfare on the central stage.

Hospitality Health, the first charity of its kind in Scotland, aims to address mental health issues that continue to dominate the industry, through a dedicated online portal and 24hour manned helpline. It will work in partnership with Hospitality Action to provide specialist, independent, confidential advice, support and assistance.

Hospitality Health believes that signposting for employers is essential, and, hopes that thanks to its Wellness Charter, employers will better understand stress-related conditions and be better equipped to find solutions, encouraging positive change and behaviour.

Businesses that commit to the Wellness Charter will adopt an Employee Assistance Programme designed specifically to assist hospitality people for one-on-one confidential support, counselling and crisis intervention.

Hospitality Health was created in response to a rise in anxiety, stress and depression in the industry, and while their aim to improve the stressful and emotional lives of those working within, they will also provide much-needed support with gambling and drug and alcohol abuse.

Driving change forward, Hospitality Health has started collaborating with other leading industry groups to provide a signposting service to supporting the industry. Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland, Lifelink, Hospitality Action all backed the launch with keynote speeches and a welcoming nod to improving staff welfare.

The charity believes that recognising and understanding emotions is essential for employers and giving them the tools and skills to understand stress will help tackle the taboo of mental health to create positive change.

Gordon McIntyre, chairman of Hospitality Health, said:“The hospitality culture needs to change, and we can start to make a change from today.”

“Let’s create a culture which shows we truly value our staff and care about their wellbeing. We need to put health and wellbeing at the top of our agenda and really let staff see that we are taking it seriously. We want to encourage more staff to eat well, take regular exercise and drink responsibly. Simple measures such as using noticeboards, staff portals and social media will help promote that.”

“This may take a bit of time, but small differences can deliver big changes. It won’t happen overnight, and I’m sure it will be tough, but we can reach a balance on this. The industry needs to sit up and take notice and if we can get each and every person a little physically and mentally healthier, whilst still maintaining our love and passion for hospitality, things will be so much better, and more sustainable too.”

Peter Mckenna, chef patron at the Gannet, said: “Hospitality Health is driving change and we look forward to supporting the innovative work they do. Everybody experiences stress at some point in their life, even more so in hospitality, and anything that helps to address the work-life balance is welcomed.”