Alchemy means making amazing transformations; we usually do it with cocktails but we also think there are other ways to make a difference. And that’s the ethos behind our initiative – Currency of Kindness. We give our staff the freedom to donate their time to support the local community by paying them to take time off work to volunteer for partner charities in all our locations – over 500 hours per month. From supporting youth projects, helping the homeless or simply doing someone’s shopping, it’s about sharing skills, experience and, most importantly, time.
Team Trinity have visited Lineham Farm numerous times during the currency of kindness initiative already; staff have enthusiastically thrown aside their Alchemist uniforms and swapped them for muddy boots, gardening gloves and the great outdoors. Lineham Farm has put our staff to good use building new benches, assault courses and landscaping the ground that visitors and animals will enjoy. And we can’t wait to see what comes next!
“I loved being able to help make the farm a better place for children. Although we were volunteers we were made to feel extremely welcome by the staff who provided us with endless supplies of tea, coffee, lunch and time to explore and enjoy the farm meeting the animals.” Francesca Dowdall
“Being at the farm was one of the best experiences I’ve had since working at The Alchemist. To have an opportunity to really help the children at Lineham Farm was great. The worst part was having to leave Doris the one eyed pony.” William Lewis
We think that charity doesn’t just start at home and that’s why the ops team decided there must be a way to get involved with our currency of kindness scheme. Not Just Soup is an initiative set up to help feed the homeless in the Manchester area. They rely on local restaurants to cook up something other than the standard soup kitchen meals for the homeless. The Ops team will volunteer 4 people to cook and distribute food at the Not Just Soup base each month. Fianna Hornby, from Not Just Soup, describes her thoughts on the initiative.
“The Alchemist support our organisation by providing food once a month to over 50 homeless people at our centre on oldham street. Having The Alchemist on board has been a lifeline as we were previously very short on restaurants, them committing catering to once a month as opposed to the usual once every 3 months has relieved the burden of both organising and finding new restaurants. Through acting as pioneers for this cause, not only has it relieved us, it has helped us attract other new Manchester restaurants.” Fianna Hornby, Not Just Soup
Currency of Kindness
For three years running (2017-19), The Alchemist has achieved a place in The Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies to work for list…. We take our people and their ambitions seriously. We invest in helping them fulfil their potential and in creating the best possible working environments. We encourage them to connect with their local communities and we recognise that many of them want to actively help good causes and charity initiatives*.
But we also recognise that it’s not always that easy to take the time out to do it. So, instead of donating to, or raising money for charities like many companies do to very good effect, we decided to create a new initiative donating a currency as powerful as cash, gem stones or gold – the currency of kindness paid in time.
Each one of our locations has selected a charity partner and every month our Alchemists will be able to take time off to volunteer without being financially penalized. We’ll pay for their time and ensure there is cover in place to fill in for them. It’s a simple idea – we give our staff the freedom to give something back to the community and we are all winners. As a company, we’re investing in our neighbourhoods, charity projects are getting access to committed individuals who want to make a difference, and our teams get to volunteer in work time whilst getting paid. We’re Alchemists. We do things differently.
* The 2013 Millennial Impact Report revealed that 73% of millennials surveyed volunteered for a non‐profit in 2012. Millennials want to give more than a simple cash sum – they want to contribute more because they become emotionally invested in the cause.
We’re big believers in pride all year round and not just for Pride month, which is why throughout the year, for every one of our Chase The Rainbow cocktails sold, we donate 50p to AKT Charity to support their mission to end LGBTQ+ homelessness.
Since June of last year, we’ve managed to raise an impressive £10,253
Just to put this donation into perspective, this amount represents 10 ‘Rainbow Starter Packs’ at The Albert Kennedy Trust.
When young people are ready to leave their care (following a period of homelessness or abuse at home), AKT caseworkers provide a small grant to help ensure success in their next stage of independence.
Despite our dark and mysterious appearance, we really do have a caring heart; with communities and helping the environment at the forefront of our minds.
We have declared war on plastic waste and have now stopped serving plastic straws as a standard with our drinks.
It’s a small initiative, but one with huge benefits. By only giving out straws upon request we estimate saving 2m straws going to landfill every year and washing up on our beaches.
“We are absolutely focused on decreasing our environmental impact wherever possible, which is why initiatives such as ‘war on straws’ are so important to us as we evolve as a brand. And we hope other operators follow in our footsteps.” – Simon Potts
During the winter months of December and January we take the opportunity to raise donations for multiple charities. We do this by adding a discretionary £1 contribution on each bill which goes directly to the funding of these great causes.
With a massive thank you to our guests, our latest pound on the bill campaign raised an impressive £37,000 for 13 different charities including Great Ormond Street Hospital and The Tim Bacon Foundation.
We pride ourselves on being the hosts with the most. You’ll find complimentary filtered water waiting at the table for your arrival, but there’s method in our kindness.
Since June 2017, as part of our war on waste, we have stopped promoting bottled water. This has led to over a 50% reduction in the bottled water we sell. What bottled water we do sell however, is fully recyclable and carbon neutral. The Belu brand gives 100% of it’s profits to the WaterAid charity.
We can then focus on the glass that really matters – which holds your devilish cocktail!
We as a business like to do things differently and we have recently partnered with Foodinate, a not for profit charity that works to end local food poverty by running a ‘meal for a meal’ initiative.
As part of our glorious food menu, we have pledged to cover the cost of a hot, nutritious meal to a local person in need every time a guest orders the Vegetable Gyozas or the Braised Beef Ragu.
Look out for the icon within our menu.
Eat a meal. Give a meal. Meals donated so far: 51,878 May 2018 – present
We are proud to have launched our apprenticeship programme, employing four Commis Chef positions to young & passionate individuals.
The programme will run for 12-18 months, and will be delivered through a combination of on the job training as well as expert 1-to-1 training.
As part of their induction, we teamed up with the Dudson Group and challenged our new recruits to conjure a dish inspired by Dudson’s fine tableware. Each chef selected a unique dish design which became the strong foundation for their culinary masterpiece. Sustainable trout was the brief and glorious food was delivered.
Whatever the occasion, we’re ready to serve up some theatre. Walk-ins always welcome. Head inside and we’ll seat you as soon as we can.