South West Regional Meeting 2017
This year’s South West Regional Meeting took place at Armada House, Bristol on 16th November and saw many members come together to discuss key topics that are affecting our industry.
The event began with an update from the AVA’s Chief Executive, Jonathan Hart. He shared details on what we are doing to ensure the voice of the industry is heard in the media; to represent the vending industry with governments in the UK, Ireland and the rest of Europe; and improve the perception of vending with a new health campaign in allegiance with the BDA (The Association of British Dietitians). After this, he discussed our Engineers Training Course, the AVA Quality Scheme and other benefits that our Members can enjoy. Lastly, he spoke about AVEX 2017, which many of the attendees were involved in this year, and shared some of the facts and statistics.
The next section was a new element to our regional meetings. With the election of a new Chair of the Board in September, David Llewellyn from Seaga UK Ltd is interested in gathering members’ opinions on what the AVA can do better to move with the times. He hosted a ‘Chat with the Chair’ where Members could ask any questions they had and voice their opinions. Before the event, David said:
“The AVA faces a challenging financial future. We have to provide support for our members, protect and advance the industry whilst remaining solvent. I call upon all members, no matter how long you have been in the AVA, to muck in and take part. To contribute time, support, ideas – whatever you can!”
One of the attendees, Nigel Shaw from Safer Systems, on reflection of the ‘Chat with the Chair’ section said:
“Very interesting to be canvased for ideas regarding a fresh agenda for the AVA. There was a variety of opinions put forward and debated. It was nice to see that the AVA are listening”
We then had another new section – a discussion forum. The topic for this inaugural element was healthy vending. Tim Varney from Revive Vending Ltd was our guest speaker with Jonathan Hart asking questions of Tim and the audience regarding how the industry can better embrace healthier vending. Numerous questions came from the floor resulting in an interesting discussion.
Our final speaker of the day was Alex Aisthorpe who is a solicitor from Ashfords LLP. He spoke about the importance of the complete overhaul of data protection called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that will affect all of our members when it comes into place in May 2018. He explained all of the main changes since the last overhaul and the impact that Brexit has had on this law. GDPR will require businesses to spend a lot of time getting to know their data and the risks that they face and this could need a lot of external support. If you would like to know more about this, we recommend that you attend our Northern Regional Meeting on the 30th November in Manchester where the subject will be discussed again.
It appears all of the attendees enjoyed the meeting and found it to be worthwhile. We finish this article with a quote from Martin Colston from Colston Consultants:
I thought the discussion following David Llewellyn’s opening was very honest and heartfelt, with contributions from many Members. There clearly are challenges for the AVA, but there is also a deep well of goodwill and a clear sense that the industry needs a healthy AVA.
The discussion on healthy vending was hard-hitting and provocative, with a positive message that we can do things differently and still make good business.
And finally, the session on Data Protection was illuminating for me, and has given me food for thought as to the implications.