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'Food for Thought' event highlights disability employment and raises over £14k

On Monday 3rd February, a spectacular event for over 100 guests took place at stunning Clevedon Hall near Bristol. The hospitality students of Foxes Academy teamed up with top chefs to highlight the benefits of employing young people with learning disabilities in the industry. The evening raised over £14k for The Springboard Charity, who help unemployed people of all abilities and backgrounds to get sustainable jobs in the Hospitality Industry.

Guests enjoyed cocktails made by former Foxes student Tom Hawkins, who teamed up with Massimiliano Terrile, Bars Manager from The Waldorf Hilton. Julie Baker, Vice President of Operations for Hilton in the UK and Ireland also gave a speech sharing the inspiring stories of Foxes students now employed in their hotels. Foxes students worked with special guest chefs including Briony May, Great British Bake Off SemiFinalist 2018, Josh Eggleton Bristol community hero and Michelin Star Chef at the Pony and Trap, Liam Finnegan, Executive Chef at The Castle, Dez Turland, PR & Development Chef at Brend Hotels, Jamie Coleman, Head Chef at The Beach at Bude, Alex Thompson, Head Chef at Clevedon Hall and Chris Cleghorn, Michelin Star Chef at The Olive Tree in Bath. Clevedon Hall’s talented team worked alongside the students serving five courses to the highest standards. The dinner was hosted by Foxes Academy, The Springboard Charity and Clevedon Hall. Chefs and the three organisers generously donated their time, resources and talent free of charge.

Overall sponsor was, and food sponsors included The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, Arthur David, Martin Frobisher’s, Kingfisher Brixham, Step and Stone, Town and Country Fine Foods and Wickwar Wessex Brewery.

Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson said, “Foxes Academy is leading the way in supporting young people with learning disabilities to gain the necessary skills and confidence to secure paid work. I am especially impressed to see that 85 per cent of their 2019 graduates have gone on to enter employment.” “Our Disability Confident scheme, to which Foxes Academy is signed up, helps employers to recruit and retain disabled people in the workplace. And I’d encourage other employers to join and realise the benefits of having a diverse workforce.”