A £ 25 million fund to help the wedding sector, which has suffered the “severe impact” of the coronavirus pandemic, opens for applications this week.
The Fund will provide one-time grants of up to £ 25,000 to eligible businesses in the sector affected by the effects of Covid-19, including wedding venues, photographers, florists, caterers and suppliers.
The Scottish Government stated that, in recognition of the continuing challenges facing the sector, a further £ 10m has been added to the £ 15m announced in December.
The fund is managed regionally by the three Scottish corporate agencies – South of Scotland Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Treasury Secretary Kate Forbes urged eligible companies to investigate the fund’s application (Jane Barlow / PA)
Treasury Secretary Kate Forbes said: “The pandemic has had a serious impact on the Scottish wedding sector and we know that the current restrictions, which are well needed in our fight against Covid-19, continue to weigh on the sector.
“I would like to encourage anyone who thinks they are eligible to learn more about applications. We want to help as many companies as possible survive this pandemic.
“We have provided more than £ 3 billion to businesses since this pandemic started. However, we know that this can never compensate for the unprecedented impact this has had on business.
“We will continue to work with the resources we have at our disposal to protect businesses and create a greater recovery for Scotland.”
Under current coronavirus rules, no more than five people can attend a wedding ceremony or partnership registration in level 4 areas, and wedding receptions cannot take place.
In the Level 1, 2 and 3 areas, no more than 20 people can attend the ceremony and reception.
Caroline Inchyra, Co-Founder of the Scottish Wedding Industry Alliance (SWIA) said, “On behalf of the Scottish wedding industry, we are delighted that the sector has received £ 25 million from the Scottish Government.
“We must thank the Scottish Government for recognizing the wedding industry as an important part of the Scottish economy and the corporate agencies for working with us to make sure this fund has as much impact as possible.
“This funding will give new hope to the many companies that have not been able to operate in a sustainable manner for almost a year.
“SWIA looks forward to continued positive collaboration with the Scottish Government as the wedding industry traverses the toughest trading conditions this highly resilient sector has ever faced.”
Other companies eligible to apply for the fund include videographers, marquee rentals (including tipis), wedding attire, and entertainment such as bands, DJs, pipers, and string quartets.
Dawn Robson of Blooms Florist in Dumfries welcomed the news from the fund after her business suffered from the effects of the pandemic last year.
She said, “I only had two wedding bookings in all of 2020, which was utterly devastating.
“I already see bookings for 2021 being canceled and some couples deciding to move their weddings to 2022.
“It was a very difficult time for everyone, but the wedding industry in particular was devastated.
“It’s good news to open this new fund specifically for the wedding industry, with any help we can really appreciate.”