The Drinks Trust has raised more than £400,000 to support those in the drinks industry who have been left in financial crisis as a result of Covid-19. 

The organisation said demand for its services increased significantly from the beginning of March, and it said many individuals are now “in desperate need”. 

The Covid-19 Emergency Fund will be made available from April 6 and successful applicants will be awarded a £250 grant to assist them with essentials and to help them through the weeks ahead. 

The response from the drinks industry to the fundraising campaign “Your Round, Our Industry” has been significant, according to The Drinks Trust. 

It said it has received substantial donations from Pernod Ricard and Concha y Toro UK, as well as successful fundraising initiatives from Sipsmith, Whisky Auction, Fox and Fox and Asterley Bros, amongst others. 

The Fund will support industry colleagues in need in the following ways: 

Ongoing Beneficiaries:

The Drinks Trust continues to support over 350 vulnerable beneficiaries, a significant proportion of whom are retired drinks industry staff and amongst the most at-risk groups with regards to Covid-19. 

Many of them are being assisted as a result of critical illness, severe mental health concerns and extreme hardship. 

The Drinks Trust pays in excess of £30,000 a month in ongoing grants which was historically funded by donations from businesses across the industry. Many historical business partners are now struggling themselves and, understandably, cannot contribute the same level as they have in previous years. This makes the need of support from business partners who can help even more crucial than before.

Wellbeing Services:

There has been a significant increase in individuals contacting the Trust regarding anxiety and depression concerns as well as sleep and insomnia issues. To tackle this demand, The Drinks Trust helpline is being increased in capacity and access to talking and well-being therapies will be extended.

Covid-19 Emergency Financial Support:

From the April 6, The Drinks Trust will be launching a financial support scheme to drinks industry individuals who have lost their employment and income. This initiative is targeted at the following two groups:

1.  Those who have been made redundant and subsequently not been reinstated, meaning they are unable to benefit from the salary grant scheme set out by the Chancellor

2.  Those on zero hours contracts who will receive only small levels of financial benefit from the salary support measures outlined by the Chancellor

Additionally, these individuals will have worked in one of the following establishments; 

  • A. On-trade; bars, pubs and those who worked with drinks in restaurants and hotels, such as sommeliers and beverage managers
  • B. Off-trade; those who worked in alcohol retailing businesses
  • C. Distribution; those who worked in businesses supplying the above   

 Qualifying individuals will be able to access a one-off financial grant of £250, payable directly into their bank account. The Drinks Trust will apply its expertise in assessing hardship and will prioritise individuals who have health conditions, and also those caring for dependents.

The Drinks Trust said it anticipates a high level of demand and therefore it has set a window for applications for its Emergency Fund from April 6 to 10.  

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If further funds become available, the Trust may look to extend the scheme to provide a further period of temporary assistance.