Keeping dialogue open between stakeholders and government during the consultation stage has been paramount to ensuring new laws and regulations aren’t enforced overnight, and that those in power are required to provide an ample opportunity for anyone who would be affected by a new policy to share their concerns before it is given the final go ahead. Formal consultations allow members of the public and businesses to review, scrutinise and help improve preliminary policies and here at NCASS, we regularly involve ourselves with any consultations that may impact our members and their ability to carry out their work to full capacity.
NCASS have been working with the hospitality team at the Department of Business (BEIS) to design and develop a ‘regeneration pilot demonstrator’ scheme as part of the government’s ‘building back better high streets’ and ‘levelling up’ strategies. The project officially began in September 2022 with an adult community learning programme, enabling vulnerable people, former servicemen and ex-offenders to develop life skills and qualifications of working in kitchens and front of house roles.
Villa Catering Club
Working with The Aston Villa Foundation and in partnership with Digbeth Dining Club CIC and South and City College Birmingham, NCASS helped deliver the Villa Catering Club. The scheme set out with the aim of providing learners with real life work experience, advice on setting up their own food business and qualifications in catering and hospitality.
NCASS provided online training to participants as part of the 16-week programme, whilst our Director, Mark Laurie, presented workshops on street food and entrepreneurship. The trainees undertook 364 hours of training which included work experience with street food traders and front house roles, gaining invaluable experience in the hospitality industry.
Digbeth Dining Club CIC
After finding out that the constituency of Northfield in Birmingham has the highest level of free school meals provisions in the entire country, NCASS teamed up with local councillors, MP’s, charities and independent food traders, to launch the ‘Northfield Food Service.’ Our mission was simply to prepare and deliver as many meals as possible to children in the area during the Covid-19 pandemic.
After helping to deliver over 15,000 meals to children in the area as well as a full Christmas dinner hamper to hundreds more on Christmas Eve, Digbeth Dining Club, NCASS and our brilliant members decided to go one step further and launch the CIC – ‘Community Interest Company’.
The ‘DDC CIC’ will provide benefit to people living in the West Midlands including, people living in areas of high social deprivation across the country with a focus on young people and families.
Future Festival Tools
Future Festival Tools is a European Erasmus+ funded project and has enabled the most knowledgeable and active organisations in sustainability within the events and festivals industry from across Europe, to combine their vision for the future.
We have created a comprehensive toolkit for festivals which allows event professionals to assess where they are in their sustainability journey, be inspired by green festival stories from across Europe, learn how to deliver sustainability with our training course and how to inspire and teach others.
Sustain – Healthy Food Service
NCASS have worked on Erasmus+ projects for a number of years now and were fundamental in developing the SUSTAIN project, aimed at empowering food & drink businesses with the knowledge and skills to introduce and bring healthy, affordable products to market.
One of the main goals of the project was to create case studies from across Europe.
The information from this research was collated to create the SUSTAIN Good Practice Healthy Food Service Compendium.
Sustainable Small Holders
Together with project teams from across the EU, NCASS is part of the Sustainable Smallholders EU education initiative to empower and equip smallholders with skills and knowledge to improve the viability of their holdings. We have so far achieved this by putting together a Smallholders Sustainable Development Guidebook, a Smallholders Supply Chain Toolkit and Heritage Value of Smallholder Produce Open Education Resources.
Street Food Opportunities for Youth (SFOFY)
SFOFY is designed to enable young people to develop entrepreneurial skills through exploring the business opportunities presented by street food, one of the fastest growing areas within the food sector.
The National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA) is one of the leading associations representing the outdoor, festival, sporting, music and cultural event community. The organisation draws its members from across the industry, from the beyond the scenes infrastructure companies, the freelance producers, the brand and marketing agencies and the event owners and local authorities that own and put on the events. NOEA has an annual convention and awards in Bath every November, welcome to all NCASS members looking to engage with the events community.
Vision: 2025 is a growing network of over 500 outdoor events and businesses taking positive climate action. They provide the industry’s roadmap for a shared journey toward net zero and the knowledge to help get there; tools, resources, guides, news, case studies, green suppliers directory, and events that connect people.
Founded in 2015, they are a not-for-profit driven by a steering group of outdoor events industry associations and leaders in the field of sustainability in live events and the arts. Vision:2025 grew from our sister project Powerful Thinking and is hosted by Julie’s Bicycle.
Steering group members include: Julie’s Bicycle, Festival Republic, The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), The Association of Festival Organisers (AFO), The National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA), The Production Services Association (PSA), Smart Power Ltd, Without Walls, The Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS) and Brown Fox Comms.
Supporting independents in the food & drink industry is what we’re all about at Togather and NCASS are an invaluable resource to so many of our suppliers that it only makes sense to work together.
Many, many of our clients – from large public festivals to private corporates – require paperwork, documentation and insurance that can seem a bit intimidating to time-strapped suppliers, and NCASS are a real lifesaver in terms of making sure that everything is compliant and providing much-needed general support to caterers.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought about its own set of challenges, not least the almost overnight closure of non-essential shops and facilities. During that time, we became a frequent presence in the consultation room with ministers from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Our 30+ years expertise of the independent hospitality sector meant we could bring a first-hand perspective to Government of the difficulties independent hospitality businesses were facing and what legislations – even if temporary – could help them to ride the storm and come out the other side.
As such, you – our members – had a huge part to play in the #EmpowerIndependents campaign we launched in response to the covid crisis.
Through surveys, social media requests, feedback and phone calls, our aim was to get to the heart of the critical issues that were inadvertently affecting businesses such as yours, and deliver your requests directly back to the law makers in Government.
The #EmpowerIndependents campaign is still as relevant today as it was when we first launched it, and today, with the cost of living crisis still having a massive impact on our industry, we’re still calling for your help in making our voices heard and petitioning for changes to legislations that will ensure the smooth operation of our sector.
How can members get involved?
We encourage you to keep in touch with our team on a regular basis via phone and on social media. As part of our Empower Independents campaign: NCASS Taking a Stand – for you! we are calling on you once again to share your current challenges and experiences so that we can expand on the work we are doing in order to lobby government to:
- Change the VAT rates for hospitality businesses so that they are in- line with our European neighbours / competition
- Understand that inflation has caused many businesses to move beyond the VAT threshold to become VAT registered and that they have had no choice in the matter
- Hot food tax – Reduce, bring in line with the flat rate VAT scheme or disband it altogether
- Understand that the cost of food is killing businesses and simply passing increases onto the consumer does not work
- Support the businesses that have supported the economy – we put you front and centre of government regeneration strategy and we want something back for you
- Undertake a review of VAT in relation to micro businesses – micro businesses make up 95% of businesses in the UK
- Support for those who signed fixed-price contracts at the peak of the energy crisis and are tied into these deals
We want the best for our members and believe it is imperative that we, as your trade association, do all we can to lobby for you, so please, continue to communicate with us and tell us more about the challenges you are facing and the issues you want to see addressed by contacting us at [email protected].