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Membership soars at SWA | Scottish Grocer & Convenience Retailer


Wholesalers turn to association during pandemic

Colin Smith SWA
Chief executive Colin Smith said the SWA helped secure £5m of funding.

THE Scottish Wholesale Association has bolstered its numbers following a recruitment drive that saw 27 wholesalers join as members during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Before the pandemic, the SWA’s offer included training resources, events and networking activities. However, the association said that since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, wholesalers have been signing up to access “quick and confidential advice” on how to navigate new regulations – as well as applications for Covid-19 relief grants.

Craig Stevenson, managing director of new SWA member Braehead Foods, said the association has served as a “terrific sounding board” during the pandemic.

“If recent months have taught us anything it’s that we must help each other where we can, even our competitors.”

Colin Smith, chief executive of the SWA said: “While we are unable to progress with our key networking events – including our annual Scottish Wholesale Achievers awards – we are always at the end of the phone to assist members and help them make contact with suppliers, and vice versa.

“Our work in helping to secure the Scottish £5 million Wholesale Food and Drink Resilience Fund towards the end of last year to help qualifying wholesalers affected by coronavirus restrictions is a prime example of how our focus has evolved since the first lockdown last March.

“We saw very early on that the pandemic was going to have a massive impact on our sector and – in some instances – members lost up to 95% of their foodservice income due to various licensed and hospitality Covid lockdowns.”

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