TSA keep a clean sheet at St George’s Park

TSA Spring Conference

TSA Spring Conferences come and go. They’re always informative, often thought-provoking and provide superb networking opportunities as the industry gets together for a welcome catch-up alongside all the learning curves. But, for the first time in several years, the latest one felt different while somehow reassuringly familiar – and we all know why.

If a Spring Conference can be said to have a spring in in its step, then the event at Hilton St George’s Park in Burton Upon Trent at the start of May had just that. The venue, home to all 23 of England’s national football teams, is inspirational, but the topics explored at a packed TSA gathering were a match for that.

In his opening remarks TSA Chairman Charlie Betteridge didn’t shy away from the extraordinary turmoil of recent times, swiftly listing everything from the pandemic and conflict in Ukraine to more ‘local matters’ like strikes and governmental issues, following what had been some 10 years of relative stability: “Before Covid everything was chugging along quite nicely, but that turned everything upside down.”

But, as he pointed out: “We are now more resilient and hardened. There is less doom and gloom to look forward to.” Countering inflation was now the biggest issue and challenges included bad debt and cyber security. However, his ‘onwards and upwards’ upbeat theme resonated with those attending, and it was a message which shone through the conference sessions.

For instance, these included Paul Dilley of Fox Energy, who soon had attendees scribbling notes as he outlined not just the background and probable developments in the energy crisis, but tips on how to counter it.

David Stevens, the association’s CEO, provided an insight into recent projects on sustainability and working with hospitality to improve how linen is valued in their operations, but perhaps the TSA’s lobbying success in parliament was the highlight of this.

Derek Thomas, MP for West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (St Ives), has agreed to help organise a cross-party meeting in Westminster to discuss issues facing the commercial laundry industry, with an invitation to be sent to TSA’s members’ local MPs. This followed a meeting with TSA representatives including Luke Edwards from Mounts Bay Laundry, Penzance.

The MP recognises just how much our sector contributes to the UK economy – now the aim is to expand cross-party support within the political arena. The TSA’s new Lobbying Steering Group has already led to MPs visiting their local laundries.

If this was a conference about having the right mindset for the challenges ahead then delegates were always going to be ‘all ears’ for keynote speaker Keith Barry, a magician and subconscious mind specialist who specialises in helping people and businesses to break through performance barriers.

As if a further lift in spirits was needed, the session ‘People Matter’ was an extraordinary eye-opener. Matt Bowes, recently appointed group digital and IT director at Vision Linens, spoke on Giving People A Second Chance, revealing how he had rebuilt his own life after a fairly lengthy prison sentence for drug offences.

“Most people in prison want to change,” he said, but what happens when they are released from a custodial sentence can lead to that desired new life or a return to crime. In his case a job with phone company Three took him into the digital world and eventually Vision Linens and career success. The TSA has taken laundry employers on a visit to HMP Wymott in Lancashire to see how job opportunities can be created for ex-offenders with the New Futures Network.

Caroline Sidell of ViaVita Health also gave delegates cause for thought as she urged employers to pay more attention to menopause awareness and wellbeing at work. After all, more than half of the population will go through menopause – and male family members and friends can also be impacted.

TSA members were also pleased to welcome Joe Ricci, president of TRSA of America, who outlined how the two organisations can work more closely together. Christoph Geppert of Grain Sustainability updated members on the ‘No greenwashing’ campaign, while a session on fire risks (an increasing issue for members seeking insurance) was also well received. The event concluded with environmentalist and author Natalie Fee talking about her not-for-profit organisation City to Sea, engaged in the battle to stop plastic pollution.

There you have it – plenty of challenges but more than outweighed by hope for a better future.

TSA Spring Conference

TSA Spring Conferences come and go. They’re always informative, often thought-provoking and provide superb networking opportunities as the industry gets together for a welcome catch-up alongside all the learning curves. But, for the first time in several years, the latest one felt different while somehow reassuringly familiar – and we all know why.

If a Spring Conference can be said to have a spring in in its step, then the event at Hilton St George’s Park in Burton Upon Trent at the start of May had just that. The venue, home to all 23 of England’s national football teams, is inspirational, but the topics explored at a packed TSA gathering were a match for that.

In his opening remarks TSA Chairman Charlie Betteridge didn’t shy away from the extraordinary turmoil of recent times, swiftly listing everything from the pandemic and conflict in Ukraine to more ‘local matters’ like strikes and governmental issues, following what had been some 10 years of relative stability: “Before Covid everything was chugging along quite nicely, but that turned everything upside down.”

But, as he pointed out: “We are now more resilient and hardened. There is less doom and gloom to look forward to.” Countering inflation was now the biggest issue and challenges included bad debt and cyber security. However, his ‘onwards and upwards’ upbeat theme resonated with those attending, and it was a message which shone through the conference sessions.

For instance, these included Paul Dilley of Fox Energy, who soon had attendees scribbling notes as he outlined not just the background and probable developments in the energy crisis, but tips on how to counter it.

David Stevens, the association’s CEO, provided an insight into recent projects on sustainability and working with hospitality to improve how linen is valued in their operations, but perhaps the TSA’s lobbying success in parliament was the highlight of this.

Derek Thomas, MP for West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (St Ives), has agreed to help organise a cross-party meeting in Westminster to discuss issues facing the commercial laundry industry, with an invitation to be sent to TSA’s members’ local MPs. This followed a meeting with TSA representatives including Luke Edwards from Mounts Bay Laundry, Penzance.

The MP recognises just how much our sector contributes to the UK economy – now the aim is to expand cross-party support within the political arena. The TSA’s new Lobbying Steering Group has already led to MPs visiting their local laundries.

If this was a conference about having the right mindset for the challenges ahead then delegates were always going to be ‘all ears’ for keynote speaker Keith Barry, a magician and subconscious mind specialist who specialises in helping people and businesses to break through performance barriers.

As if a further lift in spirits was needed, the session ‘People Matter’ was an extraordinary eye-opener. Matt Bowes, recently appointed group digital and IT director at Vision Linens, spoke on Giving People A Second Chance, revealing how he had rebuilt his own life after a fairly lengthy prison sentence for drug offences.

“Most people in prison want to change,” he said, but what happens when they are released from a custodial sentence can lead to that desired new life or a return to crime. In his case a job with phone company Three took him into the digital world and eventually Vision Linens and career success. The TSA has taken laundry employers on a visit to HMP Wymott in Lancashire to see how job opportunities can be created for ex-offenders with the New Futures Network.

Caroline Sidell of ViaVita Health also gave delegates cause for thought as she urged employers to pay more attention to menopause awareness and wellbeing at work. After all, more than half of the population will go through menopause – and male family members and friends can also be impacted.

TSA members were also pleased to welcome Joe Ricci, president of TRSA of America, who outlined how the two organisations can work more closely together. Christoph Geppert of Grain Sustainability updated members on the ‘No greenwashing’ campaign, while a session on fire risks (an increasing issue for members seeking insurance) was also well received. The event concluded with environmentalist and author Natalie Fee talking about her not-for-profit organisation City to Sea, engaged in the battle to stop plastic pollution.

There you have it – plenty of challenges but more than outweighed by hope for a better future.

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