With more than 500 staff across Scotland, it pays for hospitality company Buzzworks Holdings to invest in their employees’ health and wellbeing.

Which is why the family-run operation are backing a new charity’s Wellness Charter that aims to put the welfare of its staff first in an industry known for its unsociable hours and lack of union representation.

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Hospitality Health was set up by chairman Gordon McIntyre after a good friend of his, a chef, tragically died in 2017.

The charity, the first of its kind in Scotland, will provide an online information portal and a 24-hour telephone helpline in partnership with Hospitality Action, another industry charity dedicated to helping sector staff.

He said: “I was off work for six weeks following a heart attack when my good friend died.

“At that time people started to get in touch and asking why is more not being done, people need more support? I had time to consider it.”

Hospitality Health’s Wellness Charter aims to help employers understand mental health conditions better and arm them with solutions to encourage positive change.

Businesses that commit to the charter will adopt an Employee Assistance Scheme which will provide confidential support, crisis intervention and counselling.

Mr McIntyre, associate dean of hospitality and tourism at City of Glasgow College, said: “The business we’re in isn’t the hospitality business or even the business of hospitality, we’re in the business of making memories and our customers are guests when they visit our premises, they are going to be hopefully going away with positive and very happy memories.

“These memories are going to be created by a happy staff and the environment that’s round them.”

Gordon and his four trustees - who include a trainee psychologist, a restaurant manager, a head sommelier and a hospitality consultant - have already signed up Buzzworks Holdings, Auchrannie Resort on Arran, and supplier Braehead Foods, and have other big-hitters in the hospitality poised to sign up.

A training programme for young people is in development with Glasgow mental health support service, Lifelink, to give them tools to build resilience when working in the industry.

Mr McIntyre said: “We’ve noticed working with young people that it can take longer for them to bounce back after setbacks than it might have in yesteryear so we’re looking to build strategies and give them a toolkit.”

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Rosaleen Gillespie, head of people development at Buzzworks Holdings, said: “Given the poor reputation our industry can have, it’s important to put in place initiatives which would help employees who have problems. Those problems could range from addiction, mental health and financial difficulties.

“Hospitality can be a really tough gig with long unsociable hours but that’s why as an employer we believe we have to work really hard to ensure our staff feel great.”

As a top 100 Sunday Times Best Company to Work For for the fourth year running, Buzzworks Holdings work hard to support their staff.

Ms Gillespie said: “We do a lot of very positive work around employee engagement [with things like] regular staff surveys to get the pulse and understand how staff are feeling about a whole range of issues and how we can better support them.

“We have to recognise our own industry has been marred by mental health issues  and there is a lot more that the industry can do.

“We hope that we can support Gordon and his charity and others like him to lead the way and raise the bar when it comes to health and wellbeing and to promote the benefits of these initiatives to others in the industry.”