Published January 26th 2021 – “Relief, exhaustion, hope, sadness” – reactions in the Scottish wedding sector are mixed following the eligibility announcement for the £25 million fund to support the wedding sector, due to open to applications this Thursday.
Announcing the fund yesterday, the Scottish Government said a further £10 million has been added to the £15 million announced in December, in recognition of the ongoing challenges faced by the sector.
Launching on January 28th, the fund will provide one-off grants of up to £25,000 for eligible businesses in the sector impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, including wedding venues, photographers, caterers and suppliers.
It will be managed regionally by Scotland’s three enterprise agencies – South of Scotland Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Highlighting that there is no equivalent fund in other parts of the UK, Finance Minister Kate Forbes said the grants will reach eligible business as quickly as possible.
“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.”
The recently established Scottish Wedding Industry Alliance’s (SWIA) Co-Founder, Caroline Inchyra said:
“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 funding has been largely welcomed by the sector, with many Scottish wedding business owners saying they feel “relieved”, “thankful” and “hopeful”.
Others point out that sector specific support has been a long time coming, and for some businesses it’s simply too late.
For some who have been excluded from all support until now, the fund brings hope. Others, including those with new businesses, have told WFIL that they’ve fallen through the cracks once more.
Meanwhile, hair stylists and makeup artists working in the wedding sector have expressed bewilderment after discovering that only non-mobile hair/makeup businesses are eligible. The Scottish Government has said that a separate grant will be “available soon” for mobile services, but no date for this has yet been announced.
Those who are eligible now face an anxious wait to find out if their application has been successful. A high volume of applications is expected, which will be assessed in the order they are received until the full fund is distributed.
“This means not all eligible applications will receive funding,” the Scottish Government’s business support website states.
Dress photo via Unsplash, heart candle photo via Pexels