SUPPLIERS from both north and south of the Border have attended the Scottish Wholesale Association's first-ever networking event in Glasgow.

Held at Hampden Park Stadium, the home of Scottish football, on 15th November, suppliers currently not benefiting from membership of the Association heard the SWA's executive director Kate Salmon and George Benson, president, explain the aims and objectives of the Association and provide updates on key events.

Both Kate and George gave brief presentations, as did existing supplier members Graeme Clark, managing director of Alloa-based Scot Serve and Alan Halliday, regional director of Coca-Cola Enterprises, one of the Association's most prominent and longest-established supplier members.

Consultant Scott Brady of Dundee-based ecos then explained how the SWA plays a crucial role in guiding wholesalers through the myriad legislation they are faced with in their businesses on a daily basis. He also discussed the Association's increasingly high-profile lobbying role which has seen the SWA contribute to key government and parliamentary debates on subjects including alcohol and tobacco legislation, packaging legislation and waste management.

Sandie Holmes, a consultant with 121 HR Solutions, the SWA's training provider, discussed the Association's training programme and explained how this key service has been expanded and developed in recent years to create a rolling training programme that is relevant to the ever-changing requirements of Scottish wholesalers.

Kate Salmon said: "I am absolutely delighted with the response to our first-ever networking event and the large turnout of prospective suppliers is testament to the reputation of the SWA.

"We want to work with you and other suppliers to influence your marketing and selling strategies in order to ensure a fair and balanced trading platform for Scottish wholesalers. We really do value the input of suppliers - as a trade association, we would not survive without you; it's a simple as that."

SWA president George Benson commented: "In the current challenging economic environment, it is absolutely crucial that wholesalers and suppliers have an ongoing dialogue which enables them to communicate effectively, share ideas and discuss any problems as soon as they arise.

"SWA supplier members benefit from easy access to our wholesale members. But they can also request meetings with our licensed and non-licensed strategy committees whose members comprise key decision-makers from leading wholesalers trading north of the Border whose role is to represent the wider wholesale industry - not their own wholesale operations - on any number of pertinent issues.

"We want to work with suppliers to influence their marketing and selling strategies in order to ensure a fair and balanced trading platform for Scottish wholesalers."

Suppliers attending the Hampden event included: Border Biscuits, Filippo Berio, Macsween of Edinburgh, Kettle Foods, Cider of Sweden, John West Foods and Lanchster Wines.

Any supplier currently not benefiting from membership and who would like to have further discussions with the SWA should contact Kate Salmon on 0131 556 8753/07767 227 597. You can also email for further details.