Our friends at Ideal Collection, a group of five fantastic and charming venues based in the beautiful Hampshire countryside and West Sussex coastline, have had a lot to be proud of in recent years. From welcoming their new and highly skilled executive chef James Durrant to their continual investment in improving the already exceptional dining experiences across their restaurants, Ideal Collection remains one of the UK’s most respectable and impressive restaurant groups. As fantastic as their fresh and seasonal menu selections are and as talented as the kitchen team are who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure you experience the very best from their eateries, this isn’t what we wish to shout about today (best to just experience that for yourself at one of their five venues). Today we want to highlight the inspiring and important community work they have been involved in since their inception, including collaborating with New Forest Spring Water and Harvest Fine Foods to raise a significant amount of money for a charity close to their hearts.

A high commitment to the community is of utmost importance to the group and one of the many reasons Ideal Collection has seen such success in the south of England’s restaurant scene. Having partnered with The Murray Parish Trust in 2016, the charity touched the hearts of the group and has been an important part of all five venues ever since. Each of the venues has been donating £1 from every children’s meal bought in their restaurants as well as 50p per 1ltr bottle of New Forest Spring Water, purchased as part of a collaboration with Harvest Fine Foods, and so far they have impressively raised over £30,000 for the charity.

“Ideal Collection were one of our first ever corporate partnerships. They have supported us brilliantly and wholeheartedly from the beginning of the #2MillionSteps campaign and this latest donation total has blown us away. They are a shining example of how a charity and a business should work together and we are eternally grateful to them and incredibly lucky to have them on board.”

Sarah Parish and Jim Murray – Founders of the Murray Parish Trust

The Murray Parish Trust was founded after actors Sarah Parish and James Murray tragically lost their first daughter Ella-Jayne to a congenital heart defect in 2009. This highly distressing and life-altering experience inspired the pair to give back to those people that had helped Ella-Jayne in the short time they had been lucky enough to share with her.

Having spent so long at The Paediatric Intensive Care Unit in Southampton with Ella-Jayne, the place was like a home to them. From here they witnessed this inspiring unit in action and it was obvious how much they depended on the support of fundraisers for all the equipment and bed spaces they needed.

In June 2016, the charity launched their #2MillionSteps appeal, a nationwide fundraising effort to help build a state-of-the-art children’s emergency and trauma department at University Hospital Southampton. To date, University Hospital Southampton has committed £800,000 to the project and through this campaign, The Murray Parish Trust aims to raise the remaining £2 million the department needs.

Oliver Weeks, the Managing Director at Ideal Collection, had this to say about working with the charity:

“Since I lost my son in 2014, I was keen to engage with the hospital that cared for him so well and came across what Sarah and Jim were trying to achieve in memory of their daughter Ella-Jayne. It struck a chord with me and I wanted to find a way we could support them. After meeting them in early 2016, we launched our relationship with a memorable dinner at No.5 Bridge Street which raised £8,000 on the night with help from our amazing local suppliers and loyal customers. Back then the mission was to add two beds to the existing facility – now it’s to build a new children’s hospital, which as a parent of two young children, gives me great peace of mind that we will have a first-class facility on our doorstep which will save children lives. I am proud we have contributed in a small way and hope to continue to help them reach the £2 million target they need to achieve.”

Being involved in the community and giving back to the locals that help to make their venues the lively, homely, and welcoming establishments they are will always remain a focus for the Ideal Collection group. Whether that’s raising money for The Murray Parish Trust’s #2MillionSteps appeal, their Community Roots project – where they fund an allotment in Southampton for people who have experienced drug or alcohol addiction, homelessness, or mental health issues – or their introduction of a healthy menu for kids this summer, making the community happy and being a part of their lives is just one of the many reasons the Ideal Collection is a very special group indeed.

Be sure to come along to one of their five fantastic venues this summer to try the wonderful dishes on the menu as you help support The Murray Parish Trust- No.5 Bridge Street Winchester, The White Horse Otterbourne, The Bugle High St. Hamble, The Boat House Café Chichester Marina, and The Boat House Café Swanwick Marina – or donate to The Murray Parish Trust directly by visiting their website today.

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