The Latitude Hotels Group launch ‘Latitude Gratitude’ – a community investment initiative to support local neighbourhoods
As the world tackles the Coronavirus pandemic the consequences for already vulnerable economies and communities are stark. Not only are health-care systems rudimentary at best, access to basic hygiene factors of soap and water to reduce the virus transmission is limited. Prevention is key, but according to the WHO only 15% of the population in Sub Saharan Africa has access to a basic handwashing facility of soap and water.
The Latitude Hotels Group comprises stylish and award-winning boutique hotels across Sub Saharan Africa - Latitude 13° in Malawi, Latitude 15° in Zambia, and Latitude 0° in Uganda. From the Group’s origins in Lilongwe in 2012, they have held a strongly embedded commitment to ensuring a positive social impact, strong employee welfare, and a proactive community focus. They view their relationship with each local community as a symbiotic one, with corporate responsibility and sustainability at the heart of their brand. In November the group published its first Social Impact Report (http://bit.ly/LatCSRReport) which addresses this.
On 2nd May, The Latitude Hotels Group will launch its community investment scheme, ‘Latitude Gratitude’, kicking off with their first initiative – a fundraising event in Lusaka - as part of a wider program to raise much-needed funds for their local communities. Whilst the hotels have a history of supporting local initiatives and have long-standing commitments to a variety of projects, this will be part of a new coordinated approach to community investment, to help focus efforts, augment support and maximize leverage through its global stakeholder network.
There are currently constraints to potential initiatives and staff engagement given the various country restrictions, stay-at-home policies and the temporary closure of the hotels, but using the empty hotel facilities they have assembled a team of twelve employees and supporters who are planning a 24-hour swimathon in the pool at Latitude 15° in Lusaka.
With a pledge from Latitude’s head office to match fund, £ for £, the first £5,000 raised, Latitude seeks to contribute towards essential health and sanitation resources in these hard-hit communities. Approximately £0.80 buys a washable adult face mask, £6 a household staple food support bag; and £50 a 100ltr foot-operated clean water hand-washing tank, so if Latitude can achieve its target of £30,000 from this initial event, they can hope to have a meaningful impact with the essential goods distributed through NGO partners in the chosen communities. Detailed fund allocation and impact will be articulated within the Latitude CSR framework reporting.
Nicholas Best, Group Commercial Director “Our energetic and talented staff, drawn from our local communities, play such an enormous part in the success of our hotels which normally buzz with vibrancy and life. It is heart-breaking that we have had to temporarily close, and we can’t wait to welcome staff and guests back as soon as we can. We had been planning a formalization of our community investment for some time and whilst we know that the current circumstances are devastating, we hope to concentrate our efforts towards launching this now will bring benefit to so many. This will enable us to increase our support to our local communities from which we derive so much inspiration. We want to raise awareness and funds to address the increased hardships that people are facing during this crisis, whilst also forming an ongoing commitment beyond it.”
With the approval of the authorities and by adhering to Covid-19 guidelines and strict health and safety protocols the team will be able to undertake this challenge maintaining physical distancing and the necessary hygiene considerations before, during, and after the challenge.
The whole challenge will be live-streamed on Latitude’s Facebook page, with insights from Latitude staff and the communities on their YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/LatitudeHotels_Youtube. Donors can give at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/latitudegratitude.