We’ve watched the face of the events industry change forever, and the resurgence of the pandemic has put the industry back in the box, at least until the population has been sufficiently immunised to make organised events possible again.
We’ve had the quietest winter season since records began. Our most recent survey shows around 65% of the member workforce has now been made redundant. 86% of surveyed companies are forecasting yet more redundancies by the end of March and research suggests that more than half of the supply chain businesses face an uncertain future if we do not see our industry gain a new restart date soon.
And our surveys simply didn’t reach the forgotten freelance community. Freelancers have found great difficulty accessing even the most basic of support. They embody a colossal amount of expertise and skill across the whole gamut of event industry roles and the danger of losing all this talent to other industries is very real.
Back in 2020, ESSA held a strategy day to define its goals for the coming decade and identify the key areas that provide the greatest benefits for most members. With a smaller secretariat now working at the association due to COVID – and the pressures of the pandemic pushing down on us – the board agreed to take a more active role in planning and delivering on all these key areas: representation, leadership, unity, value delivery, and continuous improvement.
With all the pain that this pandemic brings, ESSA is also committed to ensuring it brings about positive and long-lasting change for its members and the wider industry. Of course, none of this is how we wanted to start the new year, but with a strategy in place, and our members’ interests at the fore, we will press on with objectives, namely:
- To represent our members’ interests to the government, the wider industry, and our colleagues, within the organiser and venue communities. This firmly includes ensuring the need for funding and support is demonstrated.
- To lead the way in industry recovery and efficiency, post-COVID and post-Brexit.
- To be stronger together by ensuring our table is big enough for all who wish to sit at it and that our members bring all they can.
- To deliver substantial value for our membership in terms of credibility, positioning, and heaps of benefits for members and their employees.
- To do what we do better and help our member be better, through continuous improvements in both physical and mental safety and health, education, training and by creating a more diverse industry that inspires talented people from a broader perspective.
ESSA and its sister associations, the Association of Event Venues (AEV) and the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) are all working hard to effect changes in government response and increase support for every business affected by the closure of events and exhibitions. Any association is only as strong as its members, and we need all the strength we can get. If you were ever considering an association membership, whether you are an organiser, venue or supplier, now is the time to lend your voice.