Emma Green, FESPA Associations Manager, talks about supporting the printing community.
Working with FESPA’s 37 Associations around the world is always a humbling experience. Until recently, I would travel to an Association event to give a presentation and arrive to see a seminar room full of printers eager to hear about the latest results of FESPA’s Print Census survey, or details of the next FESPA exhibition. Now, instead of travelling to our Associations, I am facilitating video calls from home between groups of our Associations on various time zones. The common message across these calls? “We’re here to support you and to share helpful ideas among the network”.
Over the last few weeks, it has been truly amazing to learn about the support and guidance that Associations have been giving to printers during this difficult time. A key function that many Associations are fulfilling is helping printers to understand their governments’ laws regarding employment and fiscal measures during the disruption to business, such as tax breaks or employment subsidies that they can benefit from. Association staff are fielding enquiries from members by phone and email and many are providing information via newsletters, websites and webinars. One Association, Printing South Africa, is working closely with the authorities and communicating detailed legislative changes via webinars and a special newsletter to its members.
Associations have also developed campaigns that highlight the important role that print is playing throughout the epidemic, whether in the form of floor graphics for hospitals or labels for essential supplies and deliveries, such as medicines and food. The Portuguese printers Association, APIGRAF, has started a campaign called ‘We Are Printers’ with the hashtag #somosgraficos to highlight the important work being done.
Print companies that have adapted their skills and technology to produce equipment to help the COVID-19 effort can register the details on searchable websites set up by several Associations. FESPA Espana, FESPA Italia and FESPA Nederland have developed these national databases where face masks, shields and other important equipment can be sourced. FESPA UK staff have actively supported printer members in their efforts to produce special equipment.
The level of dedication and commitment of the Association staff all over the world is praiseworthy.
The Associations are key to helping FESPA to invest in the printing community, which is a fundamental part of FESPA’s Profit for Purpose ethos: all profits generated from our print exhibitions around the world are reinvested to provide tangible benefits. This could be in the form of a contribution to an Association’s print seminar or by providing valuable services. Examples of these are FESPA’s Print Census on industry trends, the FESPA Global Summit, show features such as Printeriors, the Club FESPA experience for members at shows, the FESPA Awards, print Congresses around the world and many more.
The FESPA Family has been supporting the printing community for nearly 60 years, through good times and bad, and never has it been so important to keep the network of Associations strong and ensure that the printing community is well served.
by Emma Green