How many Christmas hospitality events do we each get invited to ...? How many do we go to ...? How many do we really enjoy or get a benefit from ...?
At e3 we have made clear our commitment to actively and directly supporting the communities in which we live and work, as a means to give something back (see 'Our Values'). We have also taken the decision to avoid spending money on lavish corporate hospitaility events as an attempt to garner favour, preferring instead to earn goodwill through the quality and effectiveness of our support all year round.
This year we decided that e3's Christmas 'hospitality' event would be aimed at those who would really benefit from it, so we teamed up with Lifeshare. (We would have invited you but we weren't sure you would appreciate the timing or the location ...)
As a business, e3 has actively chosen to be 'homeless' (to avoid fixed, high-cost, city centre offices) and we have done so for positive reasons: to maximise our efficiency and because technological advances mean that not having a office has little or no impact to our clients. In stark contrast, most individuals who are homeless are not homeless by choice and certainly not by positive choice. Also, for them 'being homeless' has a fundamental impact on all the major areas of life: their health, their safety, and their interaction with the rest of society.
Our Christmas hospitality event began at 6:30 ... am, on a frosty Sunday morning in December. (For Simon that meant a 4:45am start.) It took place in an old, red-brick, victorian school building opposite the railway arches that support the railway line coming out of Manchester's Victoria station.
The e3 Christmas hospitality event was helping to cook breakfast, to serve and to clean up after 70 or so individuals who are homeless and vulnerable, all under the careful supervision of Lifeshare.
Dan debunked the male stereotype by multi-tasking between beans, bacon and sausages without murmur ...
Simon went through three pairs of marigolds while washing pots, pans and dishes in nuclear heated water ... and
Nick found a way to fry 20 eggs at once whilst entertaining everyone with Popeye impressions (see photo below).
Whilst our clients, business contacts and partners have always expressed appreciation for hospitality over the years, it has to be said that this event generated a very different depth of gratitude which was both immensely humbling and deeply rewarding.
Our collective hats are off to the men and women who voluntarily give up their time to help Lifeshare to provide this vital service week in and week out.