0 Stand up and be proud of our sector and what we do

Amenity Forum LogoThat was a message from one of the panel members in a lively Question Time session hosted by the Amenity Forum and held at Saltex on the first day of the event. The range of questions faced by the Panel covered integrated control, the impact of EU Directives, such as for water and sustainable use, and how to communicate more to the wider public on just what the sector covers and the work involved in producing the very best amenity areas.

There are always financial challenges when looking at weed control but it is just as important for those commissioning work to consider the risks involved in not maintaining the very best environments and locations. People can often take for granted that sports pitches are of a high standard and not recognise the tremendous input and skills employed by those who maintain them. It was in this context that Paul Singleton from the Panel made a plea that we all stand up and be proud and shout about the work we do.

The Amenity Forum is the voluntary initiative for the sector promoting best practice. Its chairman, John Moverley, reported that, in recent years, membership had substantially increased demonstrating sector commitment but it was still important to get more fully involved. It was important for the sector to stay in control and drive change rather than having it imposed by others. John also chaired a debate on weed, pest and disease control in a sportsturf context on the second day of Saltex.

This was a debate with panellists from York Racecourse and School. This debate emphasised the importance of all those commissioning work to ensure contractors, and indeed all involved, operated at Amenity Assured standards. It also emphasised the importance of continuing professional development.

On October 16th, the Amenity Forum is holding its annual conference with a linked exhibition area. This has become very much a must attend event for many in the sector. John Moverley said ''Once again we have an excellent range of speakers addressing very topical issues and the exhibition area includes a large number of organisations demonstrating new innovations and available to provide advice. As a non-profit making membership organisation, and with the support of our members, we are able to offer places at very competitive rates. We hope to see as many as possible there to demonstrate the sector commitment to best practice and so that the sector can really stand up and be proud''

The conference will also see the launch a number of new initiatives - certainly an event not to be missed for everyone in amenity or involvement in weed, pest and disease control. Full details of the programme are available at www.amenityforum.co.uk

To book your place at the conference, being held at Leicester City Football Cub, please contact confderence@amenityforum.net. The fee is £50 (£45 for member organisations).

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