TurfPro editor, Laurence Gale, writes . . .
What does the future hold for our industry shows in light of the pandemic?
Since April we have seen cancellations across the board of our turf related industry shows. Both BIGGA and the GMA had to cancel their upcoming annual shows on safety grounds.
The GMA's Saltex show has been rescheduled to go ahead in March 2021, while BIGGA have postponed their January '21 event at Harrogate Conference Centre and are looking to hold an alternative Festival of Turf event sometime during the summer of next year.
I personally think that until a successful vaccine is produced, we will continue to see events cancelled or scaled down in one format or other. It goes without saying everybody has had to adapt and change the way they operate to survive this ongoing pandemic.
I recently caught up with Professor John Moverley, Chair of the Amenity Forum who was also was faced with the decision to cancel this year’s Amenity Forum Annual Conference that was due to be held on the 15th October in Kettering.
However, after much deliberation and the fact he felt there where some very important issues to be discussed he chose to continue with the conference via the use online technology - thus making it a virtual conference experience for their members.
I asked John what his thoughts were on the unprecedented events and issues surrounding Covid-19 and how 2020 had changed our livliehoods?
Professor John Moverley, Chair of the Amenity Forum
2020 is certainly a year not to be forgotten.
It has impacted on us all in so many ways and it is clear that returning to what we thought as of normal will not be easy and may never return. For my part, I have acquired new skills and recognised that much can be achieved through virtual meetings and discussions.
There is though, in my view, still a need for personal contact especially when tricky challenges and issues are being discussed - I have certainly found that in recent months. The sector is facing really important times as the UK and national governments undertake a major review of the National Action Plan relating to weed, pest and disease management. It is at times like these that face to face contact and discussion can be really helpful but, as said, I am learning new skills and new ways.
Building on new skills and new ways, our 2020 conference has a new method of delivery but is set to provide the same high quality of speaker and opportunity to catch up on the many developments in our sector and issues impacting on us. Over the years, the conference has become a must attend event for all involved in or with an interest in amenity management and this is even more important in 2020. Aside from important discussion on the National Action Plan and its implications, our focus will be very much upon innovation and new ways forward given the events of recent months.
Of course I recognise that the opportunity for face to face networking will be lost but the team are working hard to provide the very best experience using professional software and it will be hosted from a central venue. All the speakers are in place and there will be facility for you to ask questions and share views. I see it as a real opportunity and we believe the event may attract even more delegates who may find the need not to travel a real benefit.
Of course it will be a learning curve for us too but the team have received training and the look and feel of the event will be very similar to our traditional event although we will not be able to provide lunch I am afraid! The conference has been divided into chunks of activity interspersed with breaks and we have learnt from experiences of others on this.
I recognise that we could have decided to postpone or indeed cancel in line with a number of other events but we did not want to do that. We felt it very important to hold the event especially when so much needs to be discussed. I have every confidence that it will deliver to the usual high standards and at £50 per delegate, it seems to me to offer excellent value especially given the speakers and content.
For further information, contact Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org . The full programme can be accessed here.