Raz fantastic foodie fundraiser

Fantastic foodie fundraiser

Raz Helalat is a local restaurateur and long-term supporter of Martlets. Here, he comments on his new role as a Martlets ambassador and tells us about an exciting event coming up at his Brighton restaurant, The Salt Room, to raise money for our new Hospice building.

“I’m delighted to become an ambassador for Martlets – it’s a real honour to be asked! I’ve been working with Martlets for around seven years. As a local business, we’ve always been happy to help raise awareness of the wonderful work Martlets does in the community, and to fundraise.

I’m especially proud of our sponsorship of the Halloween Balls over the years. We’ve also helped with donating gifts for the auction at the Balls and getting the word out there through our network of business contacts. We’ve managed to offer some amazing prizes including private dining at our restaurants and a package where one of our executive chefs comes and cooks a 10-course meal for your dinner party. We also offered a trip to go fishing and then to have the fish cooked by our chef at the Salt Room. I’m hoping we can replicate it again – I’d love to do that one!

Raz smiling sitting at a table in his restuarant

This year we’re hosting a dinner on behalf of Martlets on Thursday 19 October. We will be bringing all our restaurants together – all the different chefs – to create one big night where they will cook a five-course dinner to be held at the Salt Room.

I think it’ll be such a fun evening, and all proceeds are going to Martlets. Our aim is to raise £15k on the night. This will be going towards ensuring Martlets can keep caring in its new Hospice home. It’s all about a sense of community; bringing people together who care about Martlets. It’s community support that keeps Martlets going as that provides around 80% of their funding. So, we’re so pleased to help out.

We’ve always been big on supporting local charities and the care Martlets provides is just amazing. I recently visited the site in Wayfield Avenue where the new Hospice is being built. You can visualize how things will look and how much extra space there will be. I think the gardens will be wonderful too – it’s so important to have outside space to get out into nature.

Everyone involved has clearly put a lot of time and thinking into the new-build. The patients and families have been asked about their experiences. Also about the facilities they would like to see in the new Hospice.

Patients have asked for things like ‘cuddle beds’ on the new inpatient unit – larger beds to cuddle up in with loved ones. I just love that – I think it’s a fantastic thing. It’s that attention to detail and to listening to what patients and families need that makes all the difference.

Raz smiling in his restaurant

The team at Martlets has thought carefully about every aspect of the project. They’ve taken everyone’s needs into account – not only the patients and families, but the staff too. I know, from working in the restaurant business, how important it is to make sure everyone involved is happy. Sometimes it’s the people you don’t see who are doing so much hard work to keep it all going. They need great facilities too and Martlets really take care of all their staff; the caring isn’t just extended to patients.

Since opening 26 years ago, Martlets is building something that’s fit for the future and for future generations. People often think with terminal illness that ‘it’s not going to happen to me’, but what we need to get across is that this could be you or your family. I think as we get older, we have a greater sense of our mortality. The reality sets in that everyone will one day die. It is something we are all going to have to face and it’s reassuring to know Martlets is there should we need that level of care.

We should be super glad that we have access to this amazing place. If you or your family are touched by terminal illness, Martlets will make sure you don’t have to make that journey alone, because let’s face it, it must be such a scary thing to know your life is coming to an end; nobody’s prepared for it.

Like many people, I assumed that a Hospice is somewhere where you just go to die; to spend your final days. But working with Martlets I’ve realised it’s so much more than that. It’s about celebrating life and making the most of the precious time we all have together.”

Get your tickets for The Salt Room fundraiser dinner on Thursday 19 October, reserve your table here.

Martlets Salt Room Dinner

How you can support our new hospice building:


Published 17/08/2023