CEDA chair Derek Maher addressed the trade association’s membership to deliver his Chair’s Report during its virtual AGM on 16 September.
In his speech, he highlighted the organisation’s achievements both pre- and post-coronavirus over the past 17 months since its last annual conference.
Before lockdown, CEDA had pressed ahead with initiatives including the development and publishing of the Apprenticeship Standard for Commercial Catering Equipment Installation and Maintenance Technicians; the launch of the industry-specific health and safety accreditation CEDAsafe; seeing the development and growth of the CEDA Academy; launching CEDA learning, education and development; undertaking the first industry mental health awareness survey and the creation and publishing of a further 12 technical guidance documents.
Maher then detailed the association’s response to the coronavirus crisis impact, saying: “CEDA not only launched, but also funded an emergency HR support scheme that has seen over 40 members receive one-to-one advice and guidance on matters relating to; the furlough scheme, short-time working, employees holiday entitlement and redundancies. In addition, we have issued nine HR guidance and template letters directly relating to Covid-19.
“CEDA has produced 12 technical guidance documents, risk assessments and template letters directly relating to coronavirus, including the ‘Minimising Risk from Covid-19 when opening a commercial kitchen’ document that has been so widely used throughout the industry. Many of these were produced proactively, such as the template letter confirming our engineers as having key worker status at the beginning of lockdown.”
He further commented: “The webinar programme that CEDA put together was outstanding, covering such a myriad of important topics and delivered professionally and efficiently. During lockdown, over 70 webinars were delivered; 13 x health and safety, four x HR, 28 equipment sales and technical training sessions, 18 Members Connected sessions, DW172, fire suppression, mental health, effective home working – the list goes on. But probably the most significant were the sessions delivered by Simon Stenning and Peter Martin which gave thought leadership, facts and data on the hospitality and foodservice market.”
The Members Connected video calls ran twice a week for 10 weeks enabling members to share thoughts, issues and challenges with other members. A private LinkedIn group was set up for the additional dissemination of information.
Maher reported: “The flow of information from various sources was gratefully received too. As members, we were never in the dark on matters relating to the industry, the pandemic or government support. CEDA’s weekly updates turned into daily updates at the start of lockdown and at times the filtered information that we received allowed members to see ‘the wood for the trees’, in what was an incredibly challenging time.
“Through our membership of Build UK we helped to shape government policy relating to the construction Industry. CEDA were involved with the Hospitality Suppliers Alliance that delivered greater access to local government grants and loans for members, CEDA too were involved in dialogue with; the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, HM Treasury, Department for Culture, Media & Sport and the Department for Education.”
According to the chair: “Pulling together other industry bodies for maximum impact, CEDA wrote on five separate occasions to the Chancellor, once to the Prime Minister, once to the Education Secretary and twice to the Business Secretary highlighting the plight of members and the wider industry. And of course, we as members were able to use the various template letters that CEDA produced to write to our own local MP’s individually.
“And then in June, CEDA launched CEDAretain. By providing a shop window for those that had had their positions made redundant and giving access to CEDA’s webinars and e-learning platform, CEDA offered hope, opportunity and support when it was needed most. I’m delighted to confirm that in the last few weeks individuals have found employment through this great initiative.”
Maher concluded: “The situation has been unprecedented and so has CEDA’s response. We know we need to keep working hard for the membership and the industry to ensure that once all restrictions are lifted, CEDA members are best positioned to drive this industry forward.”