HOSPITALITY: SCOTTISH WEDDING INDUSTRY £25 MILLION FUND

A £25 million fund to support the wedding sector and its supply chain will open to applications this week.

In recognition of the ongoing challenges faced by the sector, a further £10 million has been added to the £15 million announced in December.

Launching on Thursday (28 January) the fund will provide to businesses on the likes of Loch Lomondside one-off grants of up to £25,000 for eligible businesses in the sector impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including wedding venues, photographers, caterers and suppliers.

The fund will be managed regionally by Scotland’s three enterprise agencies – South of Scotland Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Meanwhile, Jackie Baillie, the MSP for Dumbarton, Helensburgh and Lomond, where there are many popular wedding venues, said: “I welcome the announcement of the Scottish Wedding Industry Fund.

“There are thousands of people employed in the wedding industry around Scotland, including here in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute, which is home to some of Scotland’s most popular wedding locations.

“It’s important that support is provided to the Wedding Sector as we know that the current restrictions, while necessary, will continue to have a severe impact.

“The fund will hopefully be able to help provide assurance to businesses in the sector that they will be in a position to operate once restrictions start to ease.

“I encourage all local wedding businesses to check if they are eligible and apply for support.”

This £25 million fund will ensure one-off grants of up to £25,000 reach eligible business as quickly as possible and there is no equivalent fund in other parts of the UK.

The pandemic has had a severe impact on Scotland’s wedding sector, and we know that the current restrictions, while entirely necessary in our fight against COVID-19, continue to take their toll on the sector. I’d encourage all those who think they are eligible to find out more about applying – we want to help as many businesses survive this pandemic as we can.

We have allocated over £3 billion to help businesses since the start of this pandemic. However, we know it can never compensate for the unprecedented affect this has had on business. We will continue to work with the resources available to us to protect businesses and build a stronger recovery for Scotland.

Katie Forbes, Finance Minister, who was recently engaged to be married

On behalf of the Scottish wedding industry, we are delighted that the sector has secured £25 million funding from the Scottish Government.

We must thank the Scottish Government for recognising the wedding industry as a vital sector in the Scottish economy, and the enterprise agencies for working with us to ensure this fund has as much impact as possible.

This funding will give renewed hope to the many businesses who have been unable to operate in a viable way for almost a year.

The SWIA looks forward to a continued positive working relationship with Scottish Government as the wedding industry navigates a path through the most difficult trading conditions this highly resilient sector has ever faced.

Caroline Inchyra, The Scottish Wedding Industry Alliance’s (SWIA) Co-Founder

At this extremely difficult time, all three enterprise agencies are pleased to be working with the Scottish Government to offer support through the Scottish Wedding Industry Fund.

This fund aims to support those businesses whose main income comes from the wedding sector. The industry supports a significant number of jobs, with over 26,000 weddings and civil partnerships taking place in Scotland in 2019.

The wedding industry is particularly vital to the South of Scotland, which in 2019 hosted almost 5,000 ceremonies – more than 18% of the national total – and in Gretna Green has one of the most iconic wedding locations in the world.

This is one of the most challenging times any of us has ever faced but all three enterprise agencies are fully committed to supporting as many local businesses as possible in to survive this pandemic and hopefully look forward to a brighter future.

Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE)

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