Liz Sagues shares some of the charitable initiatives in the drinks industry that have come in response to the growing economic, social and health crisis related to Covid-19, most especially the emergency fund by The Drinks Trust.
The long-term implications of Covid-19 for people in the wine trade, and in hospitality in general, are enormous. They stretch beyond those who grow grapes, make wines, sell them to the on- or off-trade and run the outlets through which they reach consumers. Too many Circle members are suffering, as well, with the loss of expected income from tastings, tours and other pre-lockdown activities.
So it is good news that there has been hugely generous response to the appeal by The Drinks Trust — the UK drinks industry charity, formerly The Benevolent — for extra funding to help those affected by the pandemic.
At the end of April the Trust revealed that it had raised just over £1 million through its Your Round, Help Your Trade campaign, with more than £650,000 coming from donations and fundraising initiatives and a further £350,000 from its business partners. That sum is in addition to its Covid-19 Emergency Grant fund, which has provided one-off £250 payments to 1,750 individuals immediately affected, principally those made redundant or losing zero-hours contracts.
But there is more — the Trust is carrying on with numerous fundraising initiatives. The most recently announced is a three-year link with the Champagne Academy, which will support the Trust with a series of special events. The first is happening now, a Magnum Raffle, where the prizes are 16 magnums, one from each of the 16 Grandes Marques members of the Academy. Tickets are on sale now (www.champagneacademy.co.uk/raffle-tickets), with the raffle due to be drawn on 13th June. Further activities and events will follow.
Just before that came news that the Napa Valley Vintners will donate £25 for every trade communicator who completes the free 60-minute Napa Valley Rocks online wine class. The session explores the soils, climate, history and wines of the valley. A maximum of £12,500 will be donated (500 participants will be needed to achieve that), and NVV will also send a bottle of Napa Valley wine to each trade person who completes the course (details at www.napavintners.com).
Help for people in the UK drinks industry affected by Covid-19 is coming not only in the form of financial support but also through a series of ‘wellness services’ which the Trust will run until at least the end of 2020 (see www.drinkstrust.org.uk/wellness, or phone the helpline 0800 915 4610, open 8am to 8pm).
These services include an expert blog providing wellness guidance, free talking therapies via telephone, text and video, specialist support in cases of sleep problems and a mindful drinking programme. They are, says the Trust, essential as the effects of the pandemic continue. ‘This initiative will assist members of the drinks industry to live a constructive and healthy life in these times of uncertainty, isolation and distance from an otherwise social and community-orientated industry.’
A number of Circle members have been helped by the Trust (then The Benevolent) in the past, and it will continue with such support — currently more than 350 people throughout the drinks industry share £30,000-plus a month in ongoing grants — as well as meeting as best as it can the increasing demand as a result of Covid-19. Such support is limited to current UK residents, who must have been working in the drinks industry for at least two years.
So CWW members should both think of the Trust if they are in a position to make charitable donations (the Circle aims to make its own donation every year) and be aware that it is there for them if they are in need.