Local Business Woman ‘Leading the Hospitality Industry’ in Flexible Working and Removal of Barriers to Work – Don’t ever believe you can’t make a difference because you can!

Victoria Smith-Milne and Julie Hawkins, outside the Old Court Hotel in Whitchurch.  Picture by Andrew Moore Photography
Victoria Smith-Milne and Julie Hawkins, outside the Old Court Hotel in Whitchurch. Picture by Andrew Moore Photography

So today I’ve been having some fun, standing in the middle of the road having my pic taken with this amazing lady who is taking on the world of hospitality, showing true leadership, and doing her bit to create a better future for us all. Some of you will have seen my last blog, (or recent at least) where I was passionately upset about being reminded how we are locked out of so many customer facing roles that need weekend staff. My local landlady read my blog, and said ‘I want to do something about this Jules’ we had coffee – and this is what happened next!

We had some fun pics taken so that we could let the press, hospitality, and other weekend industries realise the impact of changing the narrative around this sector! The story goes something like this;

It’s not unusual, when you see a job advertised in the hospitality, retail, health, estate agency and most customer facing roles for that job advert to include, ‘ must be able to work shifts / evening / weekends.’

Inspired by a recent blog by fellow local business woman, Julie Hawkins, who is the founder of the Single Mums Business Network. Local business woman Victoria Smith-Milne who owns the Old Court hotel in Whitchurch, decided to go against the grain of the industry, and after calling Julie in to discuss, has now decided to open her doors to people who can only work in the week due to childcare barriers and equally to people who can only work evenings or weekends due to other work, caring, or childcare sharing commitments.

This is no mean feat. Normally these industries expect staff to fall in to what they are needed for as per the rota, and common language is ‘that’s just the way it is in this industry’ but Victoria can see the bigger picture, and is committed to doing her best to manage this complex jigsaw puzzle of marrying up available hours to help make work work for everybody.  She is leading the way in the hospitality industry that could not only help already hard working families, or those new to the mortgage ladder increase their income, but also create opportunities to those who may face barriers to shift pattern work. Her leadership will pave the way to a huge benefit to the circular economy and a direct saving to our overall tax bill.

I think it’s brilliant that Victoria is helping to change the narrative around working in retail or hospitality. We have parents with strict childcare barriers and a simple job share will help so many people pick up extra work at the weekend.  Weekend working doesn’t have to be a traditional Saturday job for students. When my husband and I were paying our mortgage pre children we would have jumped at the chance to pick up some weekend housekeeping or bar work on top of our Monday to Friday roles.  Weekend work can pay the mortgage and more! It’s also sometimes the only time one parent can work when the other parent is home, and of course it remains brilliant for students, and pensioners too!  There is so much opportunity for not only the hospitality industry but other industries that require weekend work, to work together to essentially remove barriers to work and create a wealthier more ‘levelled up’ society.

Working in customer facing or physical roles is also extremely good for your wellbeing. Sometimes getting out just once a week and having that sense of purpose, community and belonging can be quite literally life enhancing. 

Local relevance

You can contact the old court on 01600 890367 and it is on the direct bus route from both Ross and Monmouth. To make this work Victoria needs all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to fit it together and to create a working pattern that not only works for newcomers, but will also in due course benefit her existing loyal team of 70+ employees, and that is why she welcomes applications from all ages, status and skillsets, to help her create a better future for us all, with wealth, health and happiness.

Old Court Hotel

Victoria Smith-Milne Tel 01600 890367


Julie Hawkins Tel 01452 471819

Photo Credits

Andrew Moore Tel 07795 277878 @andrewkmoore1 on Twitter andrew.k.moore on Instagram

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