Gift Card & Voucher Association
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From Conference to Coronavirus
14 May 2020
The relief and adrenaline at the end of a conference are palpable -
Time for a large G&T or five and a rest and brain break before Conference 2021 clunks into action.
Not this time.
Our conference ended on 4th March, and the first UK Covid19 fatality was on 5th March -
On Monday 9th March we were back in the office. On Wednesday 11th WHO declared a pandemic -
Slowly the dice landed on the square marked 'stay at home' -
Apparently, there was an obsession with bread making and bum wiping -
So, we started to interpret what this means for us. Let's all work at home. I couldn't help laughing, the last time I home worked, I had to go through a full H&S assessment, sing a chorus of the land of hope and glory and demonstrate I could stand on my head for approval. This time -
My son who had just returned from Ghana, planning to get a new job, ended up staying with me in Hastings and we slowly turned the spare bedroom back into an office. Thank god everything is digital -
The GCVA team quickly got into daily Zoom calls, the executive twice weekly. We wrote to members and sent a survey – what can we do for you? What do you need? Things are changing so quickly that it's hard to make plans; just as we pressed send the axis spun again. We pulled together a comms plan: we're promoting the industry, digital is growing, physical cards are still selling. We've had some good press coverage including The Times. We're helping to find a solution for the NHS and Royal Volunteering Service -
How long will the lockdown last? What should we do with our events? Luckily the venues have been flexible and with your support we've nailed our future events including Conference 2021 -
It's fantastic to see the industry pulling together to make a difference. We have digital volunteer gift cards (M&S, Sainsbury's, Asda, Tesco, and Waitrose & more ). John Lewis is offering online wellbeing sessions. Edenred, a key government supplier, worked with Tillo to launch a scheme to support free school meals -
This week we are launching GCVA Connect -
There's this crazy reality that millions of people have coronavirus, people are or have been in hospital fighting for their lives -
While we continue to fly the flag for the gift card industry and our members, I recognise this is a tough time for everyone -
So, tonight, raise a glass of whatever your tipple is, to good health, to your family, your friends, your colleagues, and our industry.