Hospitality Action supported by BESA Vent Hygiene Register


22 June 2023

The ventilation hygiene industry’s newly rebranded certification scheme, BESA Vent Hygiene Register (VHR), has started fundraising for the 186-year-old charity Hospitality Action.

The charity supports anyone in the hospitality sector suffering financial hardship, physical and mental health problems, and other challenges. It has distributed more than £3m and provided emotional support to over 200,000 UK workers since the pandemic, with more than 10,000 grants given to households.

Hospitality Action offers advice and support to chefs, waiters, concierges, receptionists, porters, bartenders, catering assistants, and others throughout the UK. The team behind VHR felt a pressing need to increase the funds available to the charity to keep up this good work.

“Over the last three years, the hospitality sector has faced unprecedented challenges,” the charity said. “It was amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic, and the subsequent supply-chain shocks are fuelling a collapse in the viability of countless hospitality businesses. Many continue to fail, placing even more livelihoods at risk.”

VHR, managed by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), is a fast-growing digital database for notifying work compliant with the industry standard TR19® Grease Specification, Fire Risk Management of Grease Accumulation within Kitchen Extraction Systems. This work plays a crucial role in reducing fire risks in buildings to protect people and property – and is particularly important for the health and safety of commercial kitchen staff.

Serious fire
There is at least one serious fire in a commercial kitchen reported every day in the UK, and the Register has seen a 78% increase in the notification rate of compliant cleans as the industry seeks to address this threat adequately. It recently hit a record annual milestone of 23,000 notified cleans.

Hospitality Action creates educational campaigns and works to challenge the stigmatisation of poor financial or mental health. It uses webinars, help pages, posters, and awareness campaigns to reach vulnerable people and runs an employee assistance programme, advisory services, helplines, and Golden Friends retiree plan.

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“Heartfelt thanks to BESA for its charitable nomination,” said Giuliana Vittiglio, head of fundraising and marketing. “Hospitality can be a stressful industry, with long hours, high pressure environments and physically demanding work.

“Together with our supporters we can help to put food on the table and keep roofs over the heads of countless UK hospitality households in crisis. Thank you on behalf of them all”.

VHR is intended to become the ventilation hygiene equivalent of the mandatory Gas Safe Register, which transformed the safety of gas installation work in the UK, and another BESA safety register REFCOM which plays a central role in the safe handling of refrigerant gas in the air conditioning and refrigeration sectors.

It is also recognised by the insurance fire risk body RISCAuthority and the London Fire Brigade, which recently updated its guidance for catering premises to include new measures from TR19® Grease. BESA also promotes ventilation hygiene as a critical element of the broader building safety agenda driven by the new Building Safety Act.

“We are delighted to be able to help Hospitality Action, which has a fantastic heritage of support to the industry, and whose response to Covid-19 and the subsequent shocks suffered by thousands of hospitality workers was so impressive,” said BESA’s head of certification, Duncan Sibbald.

“Ventilation hygiene specialists work closely with the hospitality trade, so they see daily the impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on people’s livelihoods and are keen to do whatever they can to help.”