3rd June 2020
True to the ‘home from home’ essence of our brand, The Athenaeum’s family spirit has never been stronger. Whilst the vast majority of our colleagues have stayed safely at home, a handful remain holed up at the hotel. Dubbed the ‘lockdown team’, this group has shown unwavering supporting for our guests, colleagues and neighbours throughout this challenging time. Discover how their desire to help serve our hotel’s local community has not only driven deeper existing relationships but developed new ones too…
While the majority of us are able to isolate with our loved ones at home, for many working on the frontline, this isn’t an option. So, to show our gratitude for those keeping our country going, we’ve kept our doors open for those who needed a place to rest their head. From doctors to police, transport workers to the armed forces, we’ve had over 50 guests take up our offer so far, and we’re continuing to see numbers rise.
With an award winning chef at the helm of our kitchen, we couldn’t let Ian Howard’s expertise go to waste during this challenging time. Under his watchful eye, the lockdown team have rallied round and put their skills to the test, preparing over 250 meals (and counting) to feed the army of volunteers from Christ Church Mayfair, who are busy supporting the local community.
Left: The Christ Church Mayfair volunteers come to meet the man behind the meals and share their thanks.
Sticking to his ethos that ‘simple is often best,’ pulled pork, fried chicken and ox cheek have all been on the menu. But we hear it was his risotto that was a true hit! (We’ll get the recipe – watch this space).
Left: Ian and Shaheem show Mina how to prepare calamari and Sadak the most important ingredient in every recipe – good knife skills.
Having learnt – first hand – of the devastating impact the crisis is having on the hospitality industry, and with many workers forced onto the streets due to job losses, we were desperate to help any way we could. A newly launched initiative ‘Hospitality Against Homelessness’ launched by ‘Only A Pavement Away’ brings together a number of charities to support those facing financial hardship with meals, equipment and accommodation. Being part of this support network, we’ve donated over 1,000 units of toiletries to Crisis who are offering vital help to those who have fallen on the hardest of times.
But in addition to these local and national efforts, the team continues to apply the same dedication, care, and energy to our long term residents. Not only through thoughtful gestures but emotional connections too, by checking in with those who might be feeling a little lonely. From sitting down for a spot of lunch and a catch up to surprise pick-me-ups left in guests rooms to brighten their day.
Left: Sometimes our four-legged guests also need a little TLC – Gita and Kim give one of our elderly resident’s canine companion a little pampering.
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