Calvin Barnett editorial director THIIS Magazine‘Tis the season to be…

…well, Jolly may be a step too far. A new variant of the coronavirus, the introduction of a new strict fourth tier for much of the country and a likely national lockdown on the horizon mean the festive season feels a lot less festive. Let’s not get hung up on that, though, as the industry has a lot to feel upbeat about.

The major win is that the mobility, access and assistive technology sectors have formally been recognised as ‘essential’ this year. Retailers in tier four can remain open as the sector has been added to the government’s official ‘essential businesses’ list. The inclusion is an acknowledgement by the government of the vital work that all of those who work in the industry do, as well as all the people they help.

As the year draws to a close, we have some exciting news at THIIS. Many of you will have noticed a new member of the team has joined us and has penning articles recently. Liane McIvor is on board as the new editor of THIIS. Having joined us in mid-November, she is now learning the ropes and will gradually take over from me later in 2021. As an experienced and qualified journalist who has worked for some leading trade publications, I am confident that she will be able to take THIIS to the next level and keep busy professionals in the sector informed.

That is not to say that I am disappearing, however, as I will remain involved as Editorial Director. Coming up to seven years in the industry now, I appreciate what people told me when I first started: “Once people enter this industry, they never leave!”

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For many, 2020 will be a year to forget and while news of vaccines gives light at the end of the tunnel, deaths from COVID-19 continue, businesses continue to suffer and the wider impact of the pandemic continues to be felt. It is why I want to personally thank all those in the industry that keep pushing themselves to go above and beyond for their staff, their customers and the sector a whole.

Importantly, I want to thank you, our loyal readers, who continue to turn the pages of THIIS Magazine. Also, our contributors who give up their time to share their expertise with others in the industry.

And, in particular, I want to thank our advertisers. Without their continued support through the decades and, especially this year, THIIS wouldn’t be possible. It is the reason we can continue to publish and distribute the magazine for free. Their commitment to ensuring the industry still has a free trade publication to call its own after the pandemic is over has been admirable.

So, as the industry looks to 2021, it does so in the knowledge that it has managed to overcome the worst that 2020 had to throw at it while continuing to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in society. If that is not something to feel jolly about, I don’t know what is.

From the whole team at THIIS Magazine, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Stay safe and well.

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