With the lockdown putting events on hold, plans are still forging ahead for the Barcelona Summit with contingencies in place if the 3-day event can’t go ahead as planned, reports Emma Otusajo.
In the run-up to the Summit, Turf Business is planning a range of exciting virtual round table events to discuss industry issues. These events will involve head groundsmen, golf course managers and other senior staff within the sports turf industry to share issues, challenges and any issues that affect them and the jobs they do on a daily basis. The events form an important part of the research process, to gather insight into current challenges and concerns, as well as their causes. The events will also explore possible solutions. The events will take place over the summer.
They’ll be in the run-up to the annual Turf Business Summit, a 3-day long conference that explores the key issues in much more depth, with a focus on putting together feasible and sustainable long-term solutions. Topics for each virtual event are still being planned, with results from the surveys carried out by Research Engine being fed into the process.
A hot topic that will of course be discussed will include the Coronavirus pandemic, and the impending shadow it has cast over the turfcare industry. This is not only with thousands of staff being furloughed and matches being put on hold, but with longer-term challenges around social distancing during certain tasks when staff return to work. Causing the industry to grind to a halt there will be a lot of maintenance to do, staff will be playing catch up to get the grounds up to standard for the Premier League games. Early research and analysis gathered from staff surveys will be used to plan other relevant topics and highlights of discussion at the events. The events will be planned out so that every sport is represented, key figures and industry experts are given the opportunity to express their ideas and water the seeds
Success of past round tables
Last year, the round table discussions took place in various venues across the UK, with delegates invited to share concerns and come up with issues affecting the turfcare industry. Points of discussion and the issues raised from last year honed in on points of frustration and challenges that many delegates found they had in common. This included issues including pay and budgets, staff recruitment perception of the industry and sustainability. Delegates took part in initial discussions, which fed out some interesting and insightful results. These formed a big input into the 2019 Summit This year will take a slightly different turn in terms of format and location, with delegates specialising in turfcare management, joining online. The platform being used for the events is still in the pipeline, but without being in a physical venue, the events should still achieve the same outcomes.
The bigger picture
The virtual events provide a series of tantalisers leading up to the main Summit event and are highly valuable to help explore in more detail key information. Turfcare professionals are invited to share their views and ideas about these challenges that affect them in their dayto-day responsibilities. The events featuring round table discussions form a big part of this research, honing in on the issues that matter the most and how they affect staff. It is this qualitative research that is so valuable in adding to the overall picture of the industry as it stands today. Senior turfcare staff are invited to put their interest forward to be considered in joining the events. Delegates are then chosen and invited to each event representing their sport and sub-sector. The information and insights generated from the events feed into the programme for the next Summit.
At the end of each Summit, the ideas generated for new initiatives to shine a light on overcoming industry challenges are compiled. To start a new cycle of research for the following year, results from discussions then feed into the research and is ongoing in the lead-up to the next Summit.
To date, there are plans being made for the Summit to go ahead as planned, although what lies ahead for the easing of the lockdown and international travel remain unclear. It is hoped that lockdown will have eased in ample time for the event to still go ahead. However, if not possible due to the lockdown, contingencies are in place to make sure that the Summit can still take place in some shape or form. Whatever the Coronavirus pandemic brings, there will be a way of enabling the event to go ahead to keep the wheels in motion. “If we’re still in lockdown mode later in the year, with live events remaining on standstill, we’ll find a way of making it happen. It’s really important that the industry comes together in some format to share, collaborate and tackle the challenges facing the industry,” said Turf Care founder, Martin Smart.
Want to be involved?
It’s important professionals contribute to the round table events to share their thoughts and ideas around topics affecting the industry. Are you a head groundsman, groundskeeper or manager interested in taking part?
Your views matter
If you’d like to get involved with the round table discussions, contact Turf Business on 01892 664555.