The first main meeting of the Textile Services Association’s year took place last week with the March meeting of the Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Many attended across a spectrum of companies to represent their views in the work the TSA is carrying out on behalf of the industry.

The event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Gold and Silver Supply Partners and the association would like to extend its thanks.

In the plenary sessions, there were speakers covering topics such as logistics and data protection with update sessions focussed on energy, apprenticeships and European projects.

The biggest hit of the day was the Linen Supplier Panel, comprising of Raj Ruia, Robin Highfield, Victoria Oracz and Terry Sheldon from, respectively, Richard Haworth, Linen Connect, Vision Support Services and the Tonrose Group. The panel reminded delegates that open communication across the piece is vital to meeting the growing quality demands from the market. For the four linen suppliers sat at the table, conversing with machinery providers and chemical suppliers avoids costly surprises down the line occurring in a laundry process when there is a quality step change in either strand.

This meeting of the SIGs was an important one, as the sectors focussed on the key priorities, which were identified last autumn by the membership to raise the industry’s public profile.

All the groups spent time outlining story lines, case studies and data required to convey the importance of Textile Services to the UK economy. TSA’s task will be to build these into messages and materials the entire industry can use to communicate the importance.

Tied into the Special Interest Groups on 1st March was the association’s AGM. This meeting marked the end of Julian Carr’s chairmanship of the association and the 90-strong audience applauded Carr’s tireless work and stewardship over the last five years. The board had arranged for a gift of model-laundry trucks with a comical slogan – common in Julian’s dictionary – printed across as a “thank you”. Julian passes the helm to Charles Betteridge of Christeyns to support chief executive, Philip Wright, as he moves the association forward.