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Togather partners with Kelly's Cause

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Written by

Melanie Griffiths

Content Lead

As our Content Lead with 10 years experience in content creation, chances are Melanie's had something to do with most things you read on the platform.

A long-standing team member, she's been with Togather since the company's early days and can be found eating her way through London's food markets at the weekend.

Published on Wed 17 May 2023

When our Community Manager, Josh, joined Togather last month, the first thing he wanted to do was align Togather with organisations that share our values, and that can bring huge benefits to our community of small businesses. Kelly’s Cause was first on Josh’s list, as he’s seen firsthand the immense benefit that they’ve brought to established businesses such as JKS through their Mental Health First Aid courses.

In Josh’s own words, “Many moons ago I used to run my own small food business, and my right hand man used to suffer from panic attacks during busy lunch rushes. I had little to no idea of how to deal with the situation, and looking back I wished I had the sort of training that Kelly’s Cause provides. I’m proud to announce we’ve reached an agreement with Kelly’s to provide discounted courses for any Togather Supplier, to make sure they’ve got the support and education they need to make their businesses thrive. I interviewed Kelly’s Cause founder Tobie-Anna Durk about where the industry is heading, and to get a few tips for owner and employee wellbeing.”

Togather suppliers receive 20% off any Kelly's Cause courses - get in touch if you'd like to know more about how to claim this perk.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Kelly's Cause?

I founded Kelly’s Cause in 2019 in honour of my dear friend and fellow chef Kelly. After training together at Le Cordon Bleu London we both went off to work in different restaurants across London before Kelly very sadly took her own life at just 23. In the weeks before her suicide she had said to me that she’d realised working in a professional kitchen wasn’t for her as it was having a very negative effect on her mental health, and I remember thinking at that time it was sad we were losing talented chefs because they weren’t being supported. Obviously this increased ten fold after her suicide and I wanted to do something to not only create change within the industry but to make her legacy a positive one. While still working full time as the Head Chef at Kricket Brixton, I started working on launching Kelly’s Cause, the first hospitality specific provider of Mental Health First Aid training. The aim of Kelly’s Cause is to create a mentally healthy hospitality industry for everyone and to achieve this through Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training, awareness, and events.

A lot of our Togather Suppliers are small businesses who started out as a one or two person operation, but are at that stage where they're taking on employees, potentially for the first time ever. What's your number one piece of advice for someone taking on employees for the first time?

Communication truly is key! Never assume what your employees need or want to be their best at work, instead ask them what you can do to support them. Also as an owner or manager one of the most powerful things you can do is be vulnerable with those on your team. Sharing your own tough times, or being open about your mental health can be so beneficial.

Where do you see the hospitality & events industry heading in terms of employment practices & employee welfare?

I think businesses are seeing more and more in recent times that the only way to have a successful business is to have staff welfare as their number one priority. With the current recruitment crisis and staff shortages the power is with the employees and people know that if they are not being treated well they can go and find another job where they will be (I for one think this is an excellent thing to have happened!) Our trainings have increased tenfold between this year and last and one of the main reasons for that is employers realising they have to prioritise staff welfare above all else. The businesses that treat their staff poorly simply will not survive in the current situation.

I used to run my own street food business and totally burnt out in my fourth year. What are some early warning signs of owner burnout and what steps can be taken to avoid ending up like Josh circa 2017?

Early signs for myself are when I start losing interest in a job that I used to feel excitement and passion for and my productivity declines - when a role that I know I am passionate about and talented at leaves me feeling ineffective and useless. Intervening when those feeling start to tickle, either by taking some time off, changing up shifts, or adjusting the things you're responsible for make it less likely that you'll dip into hardcore burnout territory. Early intervention is really key. Also, seek out folks in the industry that have walked a similar path to you. We all experience burnout and someone might have a hack/intervention that will really allow you to take care of yourself.

What's next for Kelly's Cause?

Lots more training and working with businesses on a more long term basis. We recently held an International Women’s Day event which was a huge success. After the last two years having 50 women together in a room sharing their stories was a very powerful experience and we hope to run many more events in 2022 and beyond.

Best cheap eat in town?

Kin & Deum Thai in London Bridge, happens to be owned by a friend of mine but the food is absolutely incredible. The Thai Spiced Rice salad is an absolute dream.

You can find out more, check out their free resources and listen to their amazing podcast, Beyond The Pass, here.