Today The Buyer, along with no doubt so many people in the drinks, hospitality and retail sectors, would like to ‘Raise a Glass To’ the on-going efforts of The Drinks Trust, and its chief executive Ross Carter, for the amazing efforts they have gone to throughout the Covid-19 crisis to provide both financial and practical support to thousands of people across our combined industries who have personally been affected by the pandemic.
The extent to which Covid-19 has turned the drinks and hospitality sectors upside down has been unprecedented, but at each step of the way The Drinks Trust has been there to do what it can to help those most in need.
When Ross Carter took over as chief executive of The Drinks Trust – then called The Benevolent – in June 2019 he did so with the clear intent of not only looking at new innovative ways to raise much needed money for its beneficiaries, but to make the charity far more relevant to the every day needs and demands of all the people who work in the drinks industry – and all the sectors it supports.
In particular he wanted to switch people’s perception of the charity to an organisation that would be relevant to them at all stages of their career, providing health, wellness and vocational support at any time – and not just if they fell on hard times.
He was 10 months into that project when Covid-19 struck. It has meant plans that were quietly being put in place behind the scenes have had to be put on fast forward.
It has also placed The Drinks Trust, the name that Carter, his team and board of directors, believes best encapsulates what it wants to represent to the industry it supports, at the heart of how the industry as a whole has been able to respond to the fast changing events and impact that Covid-19 has had on businesses and their people over the last six months.
Thanks to the amazing support it has received from the vast range of fundraising efforts, both from individuals and donations from drinks businesses, it was initially able in early April to pull together a £1 million Emergency Fund to provide financial support to people, particularly across the hospitality sector, who had lost their jobs and income at the start of the lockdown.
The Drinks Trust was therefore able to hand out £250 grants to around 1,800 people within a matter of weeks, with money directed straight into their bank accounts.
It has since gone on to look at other ways it can provide every day practical support, as well as finance where necessary, to as many people as possible.
Aware of the stress and anxiety that Covid-19 has placed on people in the industry, including those on furlough worried about their jobs, it has introduced a range of Wellness Services designed to provide different types of mental and physical care during this time and through to the end of the year, possibly longer.
(Click below for an interview between The Buyer’s Richard Siddle and The Drinks Trust’s Ross Carter about its new range of Wellness Services)
These have included both online, video and downloadable content, including a series of self hep wellness guides and specific initiatives to help people with their mental health, their sleep, addiction and drinking. To find out more about the initiatives click here.
It is now in a position to start the next stage of its development with the roll out in the coming months of its career development programme through a combination of educational grants, mentoring schemes and direct online vocational toolkits. Applications for grants are now open and cover both wine specific training, but also wider career skills including marketing, management, finance and accounting. Click here for more. The online services will follow.
But all of these activities need on-going support. You can play your part either sending a one off donation or signing up to a monthly subscription. Click here for more details on how to donate.
We are clearly very much still wrapped up in Covid-10 and its impact is likely to be felt across the industry for months to come. But for all the efforts it has been able to do already The Buyer would like to ‘Raise a Glass To’ all its team, its corporate partners and board, and particularly its chief executive Ross Carter.