Negroni Week News

Fundraising Spotlight: HelpOutHospo

September 3, 2020

HelpOutHospo was founded in April of 2020, just after the national shut-down of Australian hospitality venues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This charitable fund was established by the Momento Hospitality Group and initially inspired by one of Momento’s chefs, who offered his last shifts to his colleagues out of generosity. In return, his colleagues offered to film him cooking his signature dishes and sell the videos to help raise money for him. The initiative then expanded into home bartending as well as supporting the greater Australian hospitality industry, particularly workers not eligible for government support. Here, Jason Jelicich, manager of HelpOutHospo, details the initiative’s mission and impact.

Imbibe: What has the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic been on Australia’s hospitality industry?
Jason Jelicich: Some venue will never recover. In the “open” states, venues are running at around 50-60% of their operating capacity, owing to strict COVID-SAFE regulations. This has unfortunately lead to less shifts for casuals and over-stretched staff as they attempt to manage new systems with less people. In the closed state  of Victoria, it’s much worse. Venues have remained closed since March—almost 6 months now! Many have hit the wall financially and others are likely to follow. It is so sad to see city like Melbourne, with a world-renowned bar culture, literally on its knees. We can only hope that they are allowed to reopen soon and safely. But there is a silver lining: Many venues have taken to the opportunity to expand into areas they had always meant to but never had the time. Takeaway cocktails, food trucks, virtual masterclasses and more has proven that our industry is not ready to waive the white flag just yet!

How does HelpOutHospo assist hospitality workers?
HelpOutHospo provides one-off financial payments to hospitality workers who have either been stood-down or who are not eligible for any government grants. Each application is reviewed upon submission by the HelpOutHospo board and, once approved, a payment of $300 is sent to the applicants bank account. An additional “hardship’”grant of an extra $200 is also available to those in severe financial strife.

What do you think are the most pressing needs of Australia’s hospitality workers moving forward, and how does HOH plan to address those needs?
The most important thing, as with any industry, is income stability. Owing to the large drop in revenues, venues are having to achieve more with less staff, so shifts and income can and do fluctuate. Australian hospitality workers can generally be split into to categories Australian students, visa holders and hospitality “lifers.” The Australian students are more adaptable as many still live at home and can manage a downturn in income. The visa holders are likely to avoid hospitality work owing to the instability and lack of a safety net—this is already starting to show itself in labour shortages. Lastly, the lifers are of real concern—for many workers, it is their primary trade and when that dries up things get very difficult, very quickly. HelpOutHospo plans to extend its reach over the coming years to providing a range of financial relief payments to hospitality people who fall on hard times, COVOD-19–related or not. It’s good to know we can be there when a person (and/ or their family) is struggling financially.

Click here to donate to HelpOutHospo today.