A new charity, said to be the first of its kind in Scotland, aims to highlight the importance of the health and wellbeing of people working in the hospitality industry.
Hospitality Health, founded by Gordon McIntyre, associate dean of hospitality and tourism at the City of Glasgow College, aims to address mental health awareness through a dedicated online portal and 24-hour manned helpline.
In partnership with Hospitality Action, the charity will provide specialist independent confidential advice, support and assistance. Hospitality Health is also working with HIT Scotland and Lifelink.
Speaking at the launch of Hospitality Health in Glasgow earlier this month, McIntyre, the new charity’s chairman, urged operators to put staff health and wellbeing at the top of their agendas by promoting healthy living and highlighting the help and support that is available for those in the industry.
“Let’s create a culture which shows we truly value our staff and care about their wellbeing,” he said.
The charity, McIntyre explained, was created in response to a rise in anxiety, stress and depression in the industry. While its aim is to improve the stressful and emotional lives of those working in hospitality, it will also provide much-needed support for individuals affected by gambling, drug and alcohol abuse.
Hospitality Health is also supporting employers to help them identify and understand issues, and has launched a Wellness Charter, with businesses that sign up to the initiative adopting an Employee Assistance Programme, giving employees access to one-on-one confidential support, counselling and crisis intervention.
McIntyre said: “The hospitality culture needs to change. 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 notice boards, staff portals and social media will help promote that.”
Peter McKenna, chef patron at The Gannet, who is supporting the new charity, 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.”