Having been introduced to Greg Mangham in the embryonic stages of Only A Pavement Away, we have been priviledged and humbled to be involved in the project and all the good it does. From Fill a Flask, to the Upcoming Cook and Dine, supported by Tom Kerridge to getting muddy at Tough Mudder with friends it’s been an eye opening experience so far.
Seeing a staffing shortage and a social issue, Greg has provided a well needed support to the Hospitality Industry which has challenged many of us to think differently about where we recruit from with the empathetic power of life changing options to individuals who have fallen on hard times, made forgivable mistakes and lost their way having served Queen and Country and suffered difficulties in re-integrating back into society.
Continually raising the awareness of the hospitality industry in its entirety and the role it plays in localised communities and life in general is crucial for the sustainability and growth of our amazing industry. An industry where the balance of fun, hard work, team camaraderie and a sense of belonging are second to none and the career options achievable through a positive mindset and ability to take on all the challenges in an environment where we’re in the same boat are limitless.
To look at the Hospitality Industry as a Brand raises certain challenges that we can overcome and therefore changing the perception is fundamentally important to move away from a view held in certain quarters of an unskilled industry full of low skilled jobs. This pile of nonsense is negated by case studies of operators at the top of the chains and the increasingly number of successful apprentices who are our rising stars. Over 64 people in employment through Only A Pavement Away helps create a positive revolution to get more and more case studies to support the Hospitality Brand and I personally can’t wait to see a CEO who was come through the life changing Only A Pavement Away to keep this positive revolution moving.
I’ll now turn to Greg and ask the man himself, a gentleman, friend and visionary to ask 3 questions.
Q- So Greg, I won’t ask what Only A Pavement Away does, but will ask you instead the challenges you’ve faced on this incredible adventure so far?
A- The challenges faced so far have been :
- Creating a central focus for the charities and organisations involved with our members. A conduit such as OAPA doesn’t exist in other industry and was in some quarters seen as to simple.
- We are not “sexy” in that we don’t attract media attention nor do we build schools etc. OAPA helps those who are seen in society as just the norm and casualties of a fast moving world. As one rough sleeper told me. “People notice us but don’t see us, we are just the norm in todays world”
- The need to attract a philanthropist who’s funding would help fund the 4 people OAPA needs to be able to put c250 people pa into work. The one thing OAPA neither needs nor wants is an over inflated organisational structure. The majority on our funds must go on supporting our members. We will always want to be involved with fund raising no matter how small, that is part of our D & A, it keeps our feet on the ground.
- Getting accepted as the industry charity. The real positive was the reaction of our industry associations & partners and the employers who not only came on board with our purpose but were there to support our campaigns. This reactions is another great example of why hospitality is a unique industry which offers so much to those working in it and to the communities and customers we provide an experience for.
Q- What have been your personal highlights?
A- The speed in which OAPA has grown, the amazing opportunities which have come about and the fact that after years in management I have learnt so much. Whilst I “noticed” the homeless charities I never really grasped how vital they are.
Making so many new friends and being part of a “movement” which can make a serious impact in both helping the vulnerable & raising the profile of an industry that I’ve been part of for 45 years.
Amazement at the amount of pro-bono work we’ve received.
A realisation that at times in my younger days I could quite easily have taken the wrong turn if not for having a stable family.
Q- Where do you see Only A Pavement Away going in the next 3 years in support of the individuals and individuals alike?
A- There are no limitations on what OAPA can achieve and this is solely due to all those involved. I believe that we can be “The Charity for the employment of vulnerable into careers in the hospitality industry”.
Having a life skills hub & hospitality training centre in every city to bring in new people suffering from vulnerability into the industry.
We will be the go to charity conduit for the industry.
Q- You’ve taken on a hell of a challenge Greg. Would retirement not have seemed a better option? :)
A- Strangely no, no matter how busy life has become. Albeit Gill never anticipated losing half our dining room to boxes of flasks & up to last week sleeping bags.
I would never have got this stimulation by mowing the lawn & OAPA has helped distract me from the woes of being a West Ham fan. I have dropped a note to the team letting them know that we have jobs available should they find themselves out of work albeit they would need to up skill!
Thanks Greg and I look forward to enjoying the challenges along side you in years to come. If you feel as passionate as me in regards to the power of successful individuals in your business please contact me to discuss how you’d like to get involved in the positive transformation and revolution in support of our hospitality industry.