Lou Kiwanuka, ESSA Chair and Managing Director of Eventshaper explores the value of working together to rebuild.

It’s the height of understatement to say this has been a difficult year in the industry, but now that the government has rolled back most of its restrictions, our members are once again picking up  tools and heading to the exhibition centres and event venues of the UK.I like to think that while it has decimated the industry, the crisis has also brought out the best in our members and our association and sharpened our view of what our members really need to succeed.

With this part of the pandemic behind us, and the reopening of events this autumn, I want to raise awareness of just how much value ESSA is providing its members and the industry at large in this transitional stage. Event industry supply chains have lost key links, and so we have created an SOS function where members running up against a lack of supplies or personnel can put a call out to other members for help and assistance.

Over the course of the pandemic our director, Andrew Harrison, has been ceaseless in his communications with members in regular updates on government lobbying and the ramifications of changes in regulations. ESSA has been the go-to source for SME business support for its members during this period and has been tireless in exposing the postcode lottery of relief grants.

As part of the Event Industry Alliance, ESSA has lobbied MPs and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to provide sector-specific support for the industry and a host of other measures. Although the outcomes were not what we hoped for, this has led to much greater recognition within the government.

The ESSA Accredited scheme, our independently audited quality assurance framework, has expanded to include a completely new sustainability module, and in combination with our Use an ESSA Member campaign, we are striving to raise the bar on the whole industry. ESSA Accredited allows our members to put clear blue water between them and their competitors, proving that they are fully compliant with several industry standards in construction and design, and the additional sustainability module provides them with a pathway modelled on ISO 20121 (sustainable events).

With the new membership structure in place, ESSA is ready to welcome smaller businesses and freelancers for the first time, and we have reshaped our strategy to bring value to every member,  regardless of their size or specialism. Help us build a better event industry, not just for event contractors, but for everyone.