Long-time chef cooks up idea to aid hard-hit staff
A stroke survivor and veteran of the hospitality sector has set up a coffee club to help those who work in his former industry.
Kenny Child, from Roydon, wanted to do something to help the hospitality sector, which has been heavily disrupted since 2020, first by the Covid-19 pandemic and then by the cost-of-living crisis.
The 62-year-old spent 40 years working as a chef at numerous locations, including for the RAF, before suffering a stroke in 2019.
“I’m an ambassador for the charity Hospitality Action, which helps people from this sector get back on their feet when they suffer setbacks,” said Mr Child.
“After I suffered my stroke, the charity was there to offer me support and signpost me to different forms of help if I needed it.
“I was fortunate in that I coped well mentally and, although the situation meant my time working in kitchens was over and it threw a lot at me, I’m not someone who ever worries.
“It’s actually been a real positive as it’s helped me be more outgoing and more keen to help others.”
The coffee club will meet in the community room at Morrisons in Diss on the last Wednesday of every month, between 2pm and 4pm, with the first one taking place on April 26.
“It is separate to my ambassador work, but it made sense to host it in the Morrisons room as it is there to be used by local community groups,” said Mr Child, who said he hopes businesses will use it as a chance to network and talk about ways that they may be able to help each other.
“It’s been such a difficult time over the past three years for people working in this industry. Whether people just want to chat with others who are working in the same area, offer a bit of support or seek other types of help, the club will be there.
“I’ve worked in the local area for 40 years so lots of people in hospitality know me already, and I’ll be there to host the sessions and, hopefully, my experience and understanding of the challenges they are facing will help me to support them.”