Rolling, rolling, rolling

Kerry Haywoodin Editorial

The vaccine rollout across the UK continues to be successful and we can only hope that this means bums on stadium seats in the near future. The Covid-19 roadmap certainly looks positive for the return of normality from the 21st June, but you never know what can happen!

We recently ran a social media poll to determine how you, as an industry, feel about trade shows for 2021. We wanted to find out if you were jubilant and eager to return to face to face interaction, or whether you are nervous - and the results were interesting.

Over a variety of platforms: Twitter, Facebook Groundsmen and Facebook Greenkeeping (official) pages and our own Forum, we received over 1500 votes which showed a majority 54% of you are keen to attend a show this year. A staggering 69% wanted an outdoor event. However, 76% of voters were in favour of a winter show - which could be pretty grim and chilly outdoors - so the jury is out on that one!

BIGGA recently rescheduled the Festival of Turf event to 21st and 22nd July, so that it is now outside of the Government's social distancing restrictions, and The Sports & Grounds Expo (SAGE) is scheduled for 27th-29th July at the Three Counties Showground. Formed out of the heightening demand by visitors and exhibitors to get 'hands-on' and, with so many of you wanting an outdoor event, we have to keep our fingers crossed that the roadmap sees everything lifted by these proposed dates.

With the return of golf at the end of March, and grassroots sport shortly after, there was an obvious lift in morale and positiveness, but it's still a question of what lasting effects the past year could have on people's mental health. I recently watched a documentary where people were encouraged to ask someone if they are okay - twice! The theory being that it is the most important part of the conversation and it is quite often brushed over and bypassed; therefore, by asking twice, you put the emphasis on the question and provide an opportunity for someone to say 'I'm not okay'.

The GMA #groundsweek campaign was hailed a success with groundstaff, managers, volunteers, players, officials and clubs etc. coming together with one message - to promote and celebrate our industry. They report an increase in job enquiries as a result and I have been encouraged over the last couple of months by the amount of recruitment adverts across all outlets in the industry. Pitchcare amassed a record number of new positions available during March, which can only be encouraging for the industry and new people seeking sportsturf jobs.

Let's keep banging the drum!

Kerry Haywood

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