Creating a smile, lending a hand and helping people are an everyday part of the hospitality industry. It comes naturally. So it was natural for HITA to reflect this and support a local charity.
Its chosen charity last year was the Haven Appeal which is aiming to ‘Create Smiles’ on the faces of children and young people with severe and complex needs.
The project is working to raise £4 million to build a specialist multi-purpose centre in Inverness. It will be the first fully-integrated facility of its kind in Scotland and will provide support, services and social opportunities to both young people with multiple and severe learning disabilities and their families.
A brownfield site has already been identified in Smithton, Inverness for the proposed centre which will include three two-bedroomed respite houses, a community café, specialist indoor and outdoor play centres, offices, meeting spaces and a community garden.
Last month, HITA board members Laurence Young and Liz Mackintosh presented a cheque for over £2500 to Elsie Normington, founder of the Elsie Normington Foundation, which is behind the appeal.
They also helped hide daisy stones as part of the Haven Appeal’s new awareness campaign.
Hundreds of stones with hand-painted daises have been placed around Inverness. Anyone spotting the stones is invited to take a picture, post it on social media and donate by text to the appeal.
It was launched in March alongside a £1.6 million crowdfunding campaign to buy specialist play equipment for the proposed centre.
Elsie Normington said: “Young people need relevant facilities and services and parents need to be supported appropriately in their caring role. “We were absolutely thrilled to be HITA’s chosen charity in 2018. We’re a small local charity, but we can make a big difference.”
Liz Mackintosh said: “We’re delighted to have supported the Haven Appeal last year. This is such an important project for the Highlands and will provide the first facility of its kind in Scotland. Everyone on the board has been inspired by the vision for Haven Centre. “We wish them every success with their new crowdfunding campaign.”
For more information, visit www.havenappeal.org and watch the accompanying short film, Creating Smiles.
You can donate online at: www.gofundme.com/the-haven-appeal or text Haven001 to 70970 to donate £5, and text Haven001 to 70191 to donate £10.