Michael Saunders, the chairman of drinks trade charity The Benevolent has revealed significant plans for the group’s evolution in the year ahead.
Saunders shared details of the changes at The Vintners’ Company Annual Lunch in London on 10 January.
He said The Benevolent was at a crossroads and whilst the existing support of over 1000 individuals was a success, far more is needed to reach the 600,000 people working in the UK’s drinks sector.
Ross Carter, chief executive of The Benevolent since July 2019, has been tasked with creating “a new benevolent”, one that “speaks to the 600,000” and said the change would be “revolution, not evolution”.
More details about the “revolution” will apparently be announced at The Benevolent Ball on the 12th March.
Saunders said: “In 2020 a significant transformation will take place at The Benevolent. Going forward, the charity will be looking to be an organisation that delivers opportunity and knowledge for the 600,000 people of the drinks industry, as well as supporting people with hardship and through wellbeing services. This will undoubtedly be one of the biggest shifts in the charity’s 130 year history.”
Another highlight of the afternoon was the presentation of The Vintners’ Benevolent Award given to Andrew Hawes, managing director of Mentzendorff.
Along with a team of cyclists from the business, Hawes battled the hills and searing heat of Tuscany in June to complete the 350km “Giro di Toscana” and raised £35,000 for the trade charity.
The lunch itself raised over £13,000 (with the addition of Gift Aid) in aid of The Benevolent, which will go towards staff within the UK drinks industry facing serious illness, financial hardship or those needing mental health support.
Ross Carter, Chief Executive of The Benevolent said: “What better way to start the year than for the trade to come together at this wonderful event to raise money for a growing number of people in need in our industry. The support given to The Benevolent from the Vintners’ Company, not just with this fabulous lunch, but throughout the year is just fantastic. I am so grateful for it and for the help and relief its proceeds will bring to many of our beneficiaries.”
On the same day, the Vintners’ Company launched a new series of awards, which are free to enter and aim to celebrate individuals and companies who are bringing change, diversity and innovation to the wine industry.