Textile Services Association (TSA) Congress

Mark Gleed reports back from the recent event

The old town in Edinburgh played host to the TSA National Congress in early February. The Congress was held in the recently opened Virgin Hotel, with a labyrinth of corridors and rooms over multiple floors, the setting for the day was the former medieval vaulted ceiling Greyfriars Church.

TSA chair Charlie Betteridge welcomed the delegates, Premium supply partners and key decision makers from the laundry sector. Betteridge’s opening gambit focused on the challenges the sector is facing and will continue to face in 2023 and possibly beyond. Strikes, rising costs, labour shortages and supply chain issues are all major factors we all have to contend with. He went on to say, in his opinion, the most important KPI was inflation.

The first speaker, somewhat a curve ball for a TSA line-up but completely relevant in our stressful lives, was wellbeing expert Anna Neubert-Wood.

The congress room fell completely silent as Neubert-Wood used her expertise to calm and relax the room teaching us all how to cope with the stress and anxiety in our day to day lives. She suggested trying walking meetings as a way of destressing and getting to know and speak with your work colleagues to understand them more.

Professor Sir John Curtice, an expert and regular contributor to the British international media coverage on politics. Curtice explained to the room the Brexit polls and how attitudes have changed between 2017 and 2023 on issues such as immigration and the economic situation. How Brexit is perceived on both sides of the English and Scottish border, as well as this, he went on to say certain age ranges show patterns of being a common denominator. And in most opinion polls Brexit is not delivering the expectations the voters had hoped for.

Pauline Buchan, CEO of the Cottage Family Centre in Fife and now with her famous political sidekick, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, between them partner and campaign for the Big Hoose Fife Project. The project’s aims are to help the disadvantaged with everyday items from beds, bedding and general household necessities. The project relies on donations from individuals and major commercial businesses and with help from Gordon Brown, Amazon are donating items to help the people. As an industry, championed by Scott Inglis from Fishers Laundry, other well-known businesses from our sector including Ecolab, Vision Linens and Richard Haworth are donating anything from cleaning products to linen.

With the help from the Big Hoose Fife Project, other benefits are achieved including reducing landfill, in turn reducing the carbon footprint, improving the mental wellbeing of those in need as well as reducing cases of domestic and sexual abuse.

Multibanks have been set up offering people, food, clothes, toiletries furnishing, toys, and the list goes on. The charity hopes to spread to other regions including Manchester, Wales and the Midlands, culminating in a National Family Centre for the UK.

Buchan went on to say that in most cases it’s a four day turnaround from the call for help to delivery. The TSA and UK Hospitality have also pledged support for this worthy cause.

Lunch was followed by a round up of the challenges still faced by the industry. The TSA, Emma Andersson provided an update on the political lobbying and the responses from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). She encouraged all laundries to speak with their local MPs to ensure the laundry sector is not a forgotten industry. She went on to speak about the lack of Covid support and how energy prices are impacting on many businesses.

Continuing, she addressed the laundry cost index and the increase by 17 per cent in the last year to Q3, and most significantly by just over 30 per cent in the last three years. The TSA are looking to have conversations with the NHS regarding rising prices. Andersson concluded on the TSA’s initiative to ‘Give People a Second Chance’ for ex-offenders and current prisoners to turn their lives around as well as the courses for TSA members to help with employee mental health and wellbeing.

Shyju Skariah covered ongoing issues such as Infinite Textiles with additional aims to reuse, re-purpose and recycle. Skariah provided updates on sustainability covering topics for example on how businesses can reduce greenhouse gases, water consumption, single use packaging, and chemical waste, amongst other burning issues.

About health and safety he encouraged the TSA members to fill in the simple data collection form as a benchmark for reducing incidents within the workplace. Professor Katie Laird from De Montfort University, a regular contributor to TSA conferences, gave an update on test standard research for suitable membranes in low temperature washing. She continued with the results from the university’s domestic washing trials to investigate the bacterial decontamination efficacy for removing enterococcus faecium at 60°C, concluding the manufacturers claims for reaching temperature at rapid and full wash cycles were not achieved, she went on to claim it’s not temperature that reduces the bacterial spores, but chemicals. Laird went on to say domestic washing is not suitable for hospital and hospitality staff uniforms.

The final speaker for the day was Rob Adediran from Included, a unique consulting company that embeds inclusion in decision making. Focusing on the issues many companies face, the importance of diversity, gender and ethnicity, and in particular the feeling of the people belonging in order for businesses to thrive.

The conference finished with an industry dinner with entertainment provided by Pipedown, a four-piece band from Scotland combining bagpipes with guitar, mandolin and percussion.

Congress speakers

Mark Gleed reports back from the recent event

The old town in Edinburgh played host to the TSA National Congress in early February. The Congress was held in the recently opened Virgin Hotel, with a labyrinth of corridors and rooms over multiple floors, the setting for the day was the former medieval vaulted ceiling Greyfriars Church.

TSA chair Charlie Betteridge welcomed the delegates, Premium supply partners and key decision makers from the laundry sector. Betteridge’s opening gambit focused on the challenges the sector is facing and will continue to face in 2023 and possibly beyond. Strikes, rising costs, labour shortages and supply chain issues are all major factors we all have to contend with. He went on to say, in his opinion, the most important KPI was inflation.

The first speaker, somewhat a curve ball for a TSA line-up but completely relevant in our stressful lives, was wellbeing expert Anna Neubert-Wood.

The congress room fell completely silent as Neubert-Wood used her expertise to calm and relax the room teaching us all how to cope with the stress and anxiety in our day to day lives. She suggested trying walking meetings as a way of destressing and getting to know and speak with your work colleagues to understand them more.

Professor Sir John Curtice, an expert and regular contributor to the British international media coverage on politics. Curtice explained to the room the Brexit polls and how attitudes have changed between 2017 and 2023 on issues such as immigration and the economic situation. How Brexit is perceived on both sides of the English and Scottish border, as well as this, he went on to say certain age ranges show patterns of being a common denominator. And in most opinion polls Brexit is not delivering the expectations the voters had hoped for.

Pauline Buchan, CEO of the Cottage Family Centre in Fife and now with her famous political sidekick, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, between them partner and campaign for the Big Hoose Fife Project. The project’s aims are to help the disadvantaged with everyday items from beds, bedding and general household necessities. The project relies on donations from individuals and major commercial businesses and with help from Gordon Brown, Amazon are donating items to help the people. As an industry, championed by Scott Inglis from Fishers Laundry, other well-known businesses from our sector including Ecolab, Vision Linens and Richard Haworth are donating anything from cleaning products to linen.

With the help from the Big Hoose Fife Project, other benefits are achieved including reducing landfill, in turn reducing the carbon footprint, improving the mental wellbeing of those in need as well as reducing cases of domestic and sexual abuse.

Multibanks have been set up offering people, food, clothes, toiletries furnishing, toys, and the list goes on. The charity hopes to spread to other regions including Manchester, Wales and the Midlands, culminating in a National Family Centre for the UK.

Buchan went on to say that in most cases it’s a four day turnaround from the call for help to delivery. The TSA and UK Hospitality have also pledged support for this worthy cause.

Lunch was followed by a round up of the challenges still faced by the industry. The TSA, Emma Andersson provided an update on the political lobbying and the responses from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). She encouraged all laundries to speak with their local MPs to ensure the laundry sector is not a forgotten industry. She went on to speak about the lack of Covid support and how energy prices are impacting on many businesses.

Continuing, she addressed the laundry cost index and the increase by 17 per cent in the last year to Q3, and most significantly by just over 30 per cent in the last three years. The TSA are looking to have conversations with the NHS regarding rising prices. Andersson concluded on the TSA’s initiative to ‘Give People a Second Chance’ for ex-offenders and current prisoners to turn their lives around as well as the courses for TSA members to help with employee mental health and wellbeing.

Shyju Skariah covered ongoing issues such as Infinite Textiles with additional aims to reuse, re-purpose and recycle. Skariah provided updates on sustainability covering topics for example on how businesses can reduce greenhouse gases, water consumption, single use packaging, and chemical waste, amongst other burning issues.

About health and safety he encouraged the TSA members to fill in the simple data collection form as a benchmark for reducing incidents within the workplace. Professor Katie Laird from De Montfort University, a regular contributor to TSA conferences, gave an update on test standard research for suitable membranes in low temperature washing. She continued with the results from the university’s domestic washing trials to investigate the bacterial decontamination efficacy for removing enterococcus faecium at 60°C, concluding the manufacturers claims for reaching temperature at rapid and full wash cycles were not achieved, she went on to claim it’s not temperature that reduces the bacterial spores, but chemicals. Laird went on to say domestic washing is not suitable for hospital and hospitality staff uniforms.

The final speaker for the day was Rob Adediran from Included, a unique consulting company that embeds inclusion in decision making. Focusing on the issues many companies face, the importance of diversity, gender and ethnicity, and in particular the feeling of the people belonging in order for businesses to thrive.

The conference finished with an industry dinner with entertainment provided by Pipedown, a four-piece band from Scotland combining bagpipes with guitar, mandolin and percussion.

Congress speakers

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