Surviving Covid-19

12 June 2020

The TSA is fighting for the survival of textile care businesses in all sectors, continuing its avowed mission of continuing to campaign, lobby, innovate and support

As LCN went to press, the Textile Services Association (TSA) was working hard on a number of projects, according to CEO David Stevens. “The TSA is maintaining its lobbying efforts for attaining hospitality status for laundries in that sector and finally, just possibly, we are starting to make some progress with the reusable gowns project although with virtually no support from the Government,” he said.

The TSA is currently in discussions with the Government on how it can come up with a long-term workable solution to help sort the evolving PPE gowns issue with the use of reusable gowns for every single hospital, care home, nursing home and primary care centre. The Government estimates the current demand is around 400,000 a day for single use gowns whereas one reusable gown can be washed between 50 and 70 times.

Stevens said: “We estimate annual savings of £400m, a reduction of 43m tonnes of clinical waste, a guaranteed supply for 12 months and so on. However, at the moment the process of getting the project started is unfortunately very slow due to the disorganised Government committees we are in communication with. We shall keep you informed of any updates on this topic. Any senior contacts within Government would help in the lobbying process here.

“We have formed a healthcare committee made up of a selection of operators who help provide guidance and technical support to the project and who met for the first time on 27 April.”

Updating his report in late May, he said: “We are slowly making progress, in spite of virtually a total lack of Government support. What in principle has been agreed, if we do all the work, they will give it a stamp of approval and publicise it as a recommended arrangement. This week we have started working more closely with NHSI which is supporting the project and PCIAW which is a trade association for garment and fabric manufacturers which has also had similar experiences as ourselves when working with the Government. The aim is that they will look at the procurement and we will look at the servicing element and then go back to Government with the solution.”

Stevens reported that the TSA has had a response that the Cabinet Office is preparing a strategy document, but described it is “an incredibly slow and frustrating process”.

“We have started to escalate our frustrations to various senior players so hopefully we will start to see some momentum in the coming days,” he said. “We shall keep you up to date with any progress made with regards to this project going forward.”

Correct washing of healthcare Uniforms

At the same time the TSA is working with de Montfort University, part funding research into the dangers of washing healthcare uniforms at home and cross contamination with pathogens in general and Covid-19 in particular in the current crisis.

TSA confirms that de Montfort University has now received the virus and the samples of fabrics (see LCNi report,, 20 Aprl: TSA: Are healthcare uniforms a coronavirus risk if washed at home?), to commence the research for the Covid-19 Addendum project.

“This project has increased the interest from other European trade associations, we have received confirmations from the German and Finnish associations that they would like to ebe funding partners. This is great news as it will help with the credibility of the message when used for lobbying in the future and we are optimistic that other associations will follow suit,” said Stevens.


For hospitality laundries TSA is still lobbying to gain recognition for hard hit businesses that have seen their customer base crumble away. “The number of companies that have been acknowledged as part of the hospitality sector (or other eligible sectors) has increased to 14. If you have been accepted, please get in touch as it will help us with our lobbying message. In case you would prefer to stay anonymous or if you would only like us to share your council/region please let us know. Therefore, if you are accepted or equally if you encounter a push back from your council please get in touch.”

Stevens exhorted the industry to keep lobbying for hospitality status as more and more laundries are being approved. “I believe we are not far away from our message being heard across all councils”.

Reopening hospitality laundries: Good Practice Guide

TSA has also put together an experienced team to form a working group to develop a good practice guide for reopening hospitality laundries. In its first meeting, the group agreed it must be a simple, practical, and an effective guide to help the implementation process.


David Stevens, CEO of the TSA is encouraging smaller independent laundries to sign up with the association as the industry gets to grips with the effects of Covid-19 and looks to the future.

“Since the beginning of lockdown, we have opened our communication to the industry as a whole to ensure we can all work together and get through the crisis. As we are likely to be in this new world for some time it has been agreed with the Board that we should put a time limit on this,” he said.

“We are now communicating with over 50 non-members which is fantastic and hopefully everyone is benefiting in some way from the work the TSA has been doing. As a trade association we are desperately keen to have all the industry on board, so we want to try and persuade all the smaller independent laundries who are not yet signed up as members to join.”

Appealing directly to the potential new membership he added: “We are also aware that now may not be the best time to invoice you so we have agreed that subject to you signing up from the end of July we will issue you full complimentary membership for May and June. We will be contacting you all with a turnover declaration so we can let you know how cheap it will be! Once you have made a commitment, we will issue you with your membership log in for our website which will give you full access to all the resources and benefits. Remember all the income we get is spent on promoting and supporting the industry so the more members we have the more we can do.”

David Stevens

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