The boss of an Aberdeen community bakery and charity has said it has lost “tens of thousands of pounds” through booking cancellations in the past two weeks.
Donald Anderson, the chief executive of The Bread Maker, said the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has meant a number of groups and companies have had to pull out of their arrangements.
In the past week alone, there have been around 50 cancellations of “corporate lunches, birthday parties and just people getting together”, causing a serious blow.
Additional pressure comes from the supply strand of the charity, as orders for bread and other baked goods collapse from restaurants that have also had tables pull out.
Mr Anderson said: “My estimate is in the last couple of weeks we’ve probably lost tens of thousands of pounds within the charity, and that’s just trading income through the festive period.
“That extra income makes a difference, because that was expected income we had that has been kind of taken away from us because of the Omicron variant.
“There’s not as many people getting together, and obviously as a trading charity that’s how we raise our funds.
“We’ve got 24 adults with learning difficulties within our organisation, so it just keeps us going.”
However, there have been bright spots, with several groups choosing to pay their invoice or give a donation to the charity despite cancelling their booking.
A post on The Bread Maker’s Facebook page said: “The support of our customers has been overwhelming. With some of you who have cancelled insisting on still paying, recognising the work of the charity.
“The recognition of what we do is so much appreciated.
“None more than the 24 adults with learning disabilities and staff that produce some of the best-loved bread in the city.”
One large local company withdrew from a catering booking for 40 people, but chose to fulfil their invoice so the charity would not miss out on income.
Mr Anderson said the community bakery, located on Rosemount Viaduct, had also benefited in certain ways from the pandemic.
He said: “The whole Covid thing has generated a lot of loyal customers who want to shop with smaller shops such as ourselves rather than the big multi-nationals.
“That’s continued from day one of Covid right through to now. And especially this year, we’re seeing a lot of people coming through our doors and buying mince pies.”
He added: “Through our loyal customers, our retail business is very buoyant and that keeps us going.”