By Fay Collins, Marketing Manager, Hawksmoor

We try to do things the right way at Hawksmoor, not because it’s trendy and cool (we sourced British meat before it was trendy) or because we’re natural tree-huggers or hippy peaceniks. We do it because we want to – it’s the kind of company we want to be and the kind of restaurants we want to run. We want a business we can be proud of – whether that’s making sure the food we serve is as good as possible, that the animals the food comes from lived a decent life, or that everyone who works with us enjoys what they do.

With this in mind, working with charities close to our hearts has been an important part of what we do from day one. We do a number of things from donating 50p on a couple of menu items, donating profits from our book Hawksmoor at Home, providing meals as prizes at charity events to hosting an annual charity dinner in aid of Action Against Hunger. Something else we introduced a couple of years ago is an extra day paid leave for staff to use volunteering for charity – whether this be one of the charities we support as a company or one they have chosen themselves.

We are aware that we are privileged to work every day with food and drink and it feels right for us to encourage our staff to help those who are most in need. Staff are free to use this day for whatever charitable work they would like, in the past we’ve had people volunteer at events such as Taste of London, Auction Against Hunger and our own Charity Dinner. Staff have also volunteered their time collecting and sending clothes to Calais during the refugee crisis, cooked and served food to the homeless up in Manchester with Not Just Soup, wrapped Christmas presents, sorted clothing and put packages together for local under privileged children at Wood Street Mission.

Volunteering has a really positive effect on morale and not only inspires them to get together and be creative about how to use their volunteering day, but also brings them closer together across different departments were they might not have had much interaction before. Creating an environment where staff can not only talk about a cause they are passionate about, but also encourage action is very empowering and we’ve really noticed a real difference in individuals since starting this initiative.

We’ve found that they don’t just stop at one day either, a lot of our staff have started volunteering in their spare time too.