Only A Pavement Away aims to connect forward thinking employers in the hospitality industry and charities working with people facing or experiencing homelessness, prison leavers and veterans, to help place them into long term, stable employment.
To date, we are proud to have helped 138 people facing homelessness into jobs in the hospitality industry adding c£2.6million to the economy through a reduction in Government support while enabling those employed to be able to pay rent, utilities etc and have disposable income. Of those, 65 went to work with an average length of service of 44 weeks.
During lockdown we also facilitated c£1.4m of food & drink into the homeless shelters all through the generosity of the industry. This year, we want to help a further 250 people into new careers giving each the chance of a more stable future.
The initial intent of Only a Pavement Away was to get a couple of people into work with Pub Love via Crisis. The ethos of the charity is aptly manifested by the fact that Ben Stackhouse of Pub Love and Dulal Ahmed from Crisis remain Trustees. After conversations with Keith Knowles and Fergus McMullen we decided to work with military veterans and prison leavers.
Recruitment and image have always been a nemesis for hospitality in the forty plus years I’ve been involved in it and never more so than now as the industry faces a chronic labour shortage.
Pubs are the community
I believe an upside of the pandemic has been that the public now recognise that pubs are not only in the community but are the community. None more so than the work Anthony Pender and Tim Foster of Yummy Pubs, Jonathan Childs of the Garden House in Norwich, and industry consultant Paul Pavli, did in helping us launch Hospitality Against Homelessness.
Since our conception in October 2018, we have seen 138 people find work in hospitality, many with pub companies such as Pub Love, Greene King, Fuller's, Young's, Livelyhood, McMullen, Culpepper with companies from the restaurant and hotel sectors.
That initial step into work after facing homelessness, leaving prison and/or the military has allowed them to forge a new pathway. It would be naive not to think that some have returned to their old ways.
The answer is simple - prison leavers have a fantastic work ethic, veterans are used to teamwork and camaraderie and those who have faced homelessness have the drive not to return to that dark space called destitution.