Gordon Brown to headline at TSA Congress

1 February 2023

The Textile Services Association (TSA) is gearing up for its annual National Congress in Edinburgh this month, 8-9 February. There is plenty for CEO David Stevens to report on, from lobbying the Government for more help in the energy crisis, through rocketing costs, the labour shortage, training programmes to positive initiatives on mental health and sustainability strategies. There is a cracking list of speakers and presenters lined up for the event with former Prime Minister Gordon Brown topping the list.

Brown will be talking about the ‘Big Hoose Fife Project’ alongside Pauline Buchan, CEO of the Cottage Family Centre in Fife which is where it all began in 1987. The anti-poverty charity the Big Hoose Fife Project, launched by Brown, provides support to thousands of families in need across the UK. He will discuss how the TSA and the industry can help support it through the Association’s Infinite Textiles scheme. He will share the platform with Pauline Buchan who is CEO of the Cottage Family Centre in Fife which is where it all began in 1987. It will be an inspiring paper and one the industry really can make a difference to with its support, says Stevens.

Another impressive keynote speaker is Sir John Curtice who will be pontificating on the vexed question of Brexit and its repercussions three years on. He is Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, and Senior Research Fellow, NatCen Social Research and the ESRC’s ‘The UK in a Changing Europe’ initiative. He has written extensively about voting behaviour in the UK, and British political and social attitudes.

The Congress kicks off informally on the evening of Wednesday 8 February with a dinner at the Congress venue, Virgin Hotels Edinburgh, followed by the Congress itself on Thursday 9 February with a full and varied agenda planned by the TSA team.

Dr Katie Laird will present on ‘Caring for the Future’. Professor Laird is a Reader in Microbiology in the School of Pharmacy and head of the Infectious Disease Research Group at De Montfort University. She is a familiar face to many at the TSA after providing several presentations over recent years on her research on the prevention of transmission of healthcare acquired infections particularly the use of novel antimicrobials and research projects on C. difficile transmission on healthcare laundry, reducing the attachment of micro-organisms to textiles in the healthcare arena. For the congress Katie provides an update on the processing methodology around the specific items required for residential care and nursing homes.”

The final keynote slot of the day is Rob Adediran presenting his paper ‘From Diversity to Inclusion – Building a Workplace that Works for Everyone’. He is a diversity and inclusion specialist and advocate for inclusive leadership in education and business. Reflecting on TSA data, Adediron will also set a new challenge for TSA members to build on its culture survey, , presented at last year’s November conference, and establish a shared approach to understanding and meeting the needs of the workforce.

Congress will top out in the evening with an industry dinner followed by musical entertainment from ‘Pipe Down’, a four-piece band from Scotland combining bagpipes with guitar, mandolin and percussion. The music draws on Scottish and Irish traditions together with worldwide folk and pipe music.

Stevens commented: “Following on from previous events, we have moved Congress from November to February in the hope that it will be easier for more to attend as the end of the calendar year is always an eventful time. We’re conscious you’re busy so have kept the one day format as before. By making the event ‘invitation only’ we have restricted the number of suppliers resulting in over 70% of the audience being laundries and all major companies are well-represented at director level.

“The programme will hopefully deliver an inspirational, informative agenda but critically we’ve also left plenty of time for networking and catching up with colleagues. On behalf of myself and all the TSA team, we can’t wait to get our 2023 Congress started.”

For more information contact E: [email protected]

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