About Us. Our Impact.

On this page you’ll find out how we spent your donations across 2020 and 2021.

Hospitality Action was one of the first charities in the UK to mount an emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. This page outlines how we have evolved our service offering and transformed our fundraising model throughout the pandemic to meet the changing needs of a sector that continues to bear the brunt of the economic and social impacts of the crisis.

Impact map

Impact at a glance.

As the pandemic unfolded, our response continually evolved to mitigate the financial and mental health impact on the most vulnerable people in the industry. The initial economic shock caused by sudden business closures and widespread job losses gave way to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which saw hundreds of thousands of hospitality people furloughed for long periods. It was a time of huge anxiety for people accustomed to being busy for long periods, triggering anxiety, depression, guilt and fear – all with the added pressures of homeschooling, caring for vulnerable relatives and worrying about the future.

We kept pace with the stop-start nature of reopening as each wave triggered business closures and increasingly unpredictable employment patterns. In 2022, we continue to develop our services in response to the mounting cost of living, a crisis that is already impacting those with the lowest household incomes.

Hospitality Action receives no government funding and many of our traditional revenue streams fell away, so we needed to quickly and continuously reinvent our fundraising model to be able to continue to support one of the UK’s hardest-hit sectors.

By developing new grant streams and award-winning fundraising products, Hospitality Action has provided a safety net for more than 170,000 UK hospitality workers and their families. Our achievements during the pandemic resulted in us being recognised as Charity of the Year in the 2021 Charity Times awards.

How we’ve helped.

Hospitality Action has been supporting hospitality people for 185 years, so we were well-placed to quickly mobilise in response to Covid-19. In fact, Hospitality Action was one of the first charities in the UK to launch an emergency fund, which has evolved to meet the changing needs of our beneficiaries.

We help hospitality people by providing financial support to those in poverty or those who are dealing with physical or mental health conditions. Since the start of the pandemic, we have spent some £2.3m and awarded 7,400 grants to hospitality households across the UK.

Meanwhile, we continued to support people facing issues that did not relate specifically to the pandemic. We have provided mental health support and signposting to the whole hospitality workforce via an online advice and 24-hour helpline. Our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provides comprehensive wrap-around support with access to counsellors and experts in areas such as parenting, legal matters and debt management. Developed specifically for the industry, the scheme also features specific managerial resources and trauma support in the event of a critical incident. Our EAP currently protects more than 150,000 employees.

Since the start of the pandemic we’ve been in direct contact with more than 11,200 people via our helplines and live chat services.

More than 2,000 older beneficiaries have membership of our Golden Friends scheme, a befriending and contact scheme designed to keep loneliness and isolation at bay. In response to the pandemic, an additional team of 250 volunteer befrienders was recruited to provide additional support and help to industry retirees, whether accessing NHS services or connecting them with local support networks and charities during periods of isolation and uncertainty.

Reasons for Grants

Financial support.

Key to our success in responding to the pandemic has been our ability to quickly evolve our grants service and introduce flexible and targeted packages of support in a rapidly changing environment. The shifting employment landscape, ever-changing Covid-19 restrictions, the vagaries of local and national government support, the cost of living crisis, food and fuel poverty and mounting debt all impacted our beneficiaries and required a variety of responses.

The timeline below details the purpose of our various financial grants and reflects our caseworkers’ ability to pivot our grant-making in response to the fast-evolving situation experienced from March 2020 onwards.

Poppy’s Story

A comfy bed, curtains at the window to shut out the night time, a feeling of safety and the chance to dream of a better tomorrow. These are all things we take for granted.

For Poppy, her mum and her little brother life was already tough, then the pandemic struck. Poppy’s family is one of the thousands we helped during the crisis with a modest grant to help cover the basics that we all need in life to feel safe and secure.