Helping people into hospitality, by Rosie Ferguson, CEO, House of St Barnabas
House of St Barnabas is a private members’ club working to break the cycle of homelessness. We support people who have experienced homelessness to achieve a stable job, a safe home and a supportive network, so that they can move permanently out of the trap of homelessness and insecurity.
We support people who are ready to work to build their confidence and transferable skills through training and work experience. Then we provide long-term progression to help people secure, succeed and progress in work, mostly in the hospitality sector.
Our work takes place in our grade 1 listed members’ club in Soho Square, where our members and their guests can enjoy delicious food, original cocktails and a vibrant atmosphere in our historic building and in Soho’s largest private garden. The club provides opportunities for our participants to gain work experience in a real-life hospitality business and a network of mentors, supporters and influencers to support our participants and further our mission to break the cycle of homelessness.
As a hospitality employer ourselves, we know only too well about the challenges facing the sector to scale up quickly to meet an unexpected level of demand right now, having reduced our team down to survive the pandemic. It is a good problem to have considering the last year, but as we all know, the combination of Brexit and the pandemic mean the sector is struggling to fill vacancies quickly enough and with the right candidates.
Yet there are a huge number of people across the UK, including our employment programme participants, who are ready and able to work. They may have had experience of the care system, leaving prison, poor mental health or addiction, but they have had support from various agencies and are ready to get their lives back on track. Their life experience has made them resilient, self-aware and determined. We have 10 such people on our employment programme currently at the House of St Barnabas, who are eager to re-enter the workforce after some time out. And there are other brilliant charities up and down the country supporting those who’ve faced the brunt of life’s challenges into work, such as our friends at Hotel School, Crisis and Beyond Food. We all work with people who are ready to show hard work and loyalty to the right employer.
But people need something in return. An insecure role on low pay, without guaranteed hours or stability will not support people to achieve stability. They need and deserve jobs that offer secure hours, a Living Wage and opportunities to progress. This will enable them to plan their finances, manage debts, stabilise any benefits they receive and ultimately create a stable platform that means they can thrive and progress in your hospitality business. As we emerge from the pandemic, the hospitality sector must accelerate the conversation about what Good Work looks like for those we employ and how it can inspire loyalty and commitment from our staff and customers.
Rosie Ferguson, CEO, House of St Barnabas
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Hospitality & Catering News: House of St Barnabas help people secure, succeed and progress in working in hospitality. – 6 June 2021 – House of St Barnabas help people secure, succeed and progress in working in hospitality.
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