The Groundsman

January 2015

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COMMENT 3 the Groundsman January 2015 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions ith an election looming in May this year, we have limited opportunity to influence politicians as they go into full election mode. Perhaps it is worth reflecting on the fact that groundsmanship in horticulture and sport still face huge challenges to establish meaningful support for the sectors they represent. Recently the Parks Alliance has been established to place the continual downsizing of parks back on the agenda and to find political support for protecting our green spaces. Whereas the Amenity Forum works tirelessly promoting best practice on pesticide use and offers advice on EU legislation and its impact on the UK. Both the aforementioned bodies are actively supported by the IOG. Sport, represented by the Department for Culture Media and Sport, now has its first ever minister with a split portfolio – namely Minister for Sport Tourism and Equalities. Is this a further erosion of sports influence, despite the work of Sport England, which helps to protect playing fields' budgets at grassroots level that are increasingly put under pressure? Groundsmanship and all it represents is equally at risk. In professional football the move towards sanctioning artificial turf within the Football League is likely to be discussed again at the summer meeting of the Football League chairmen. In the public sector continued austerity, combined with a lack of representation at board level, with fewer chief leisure officers representing standalone departments throws up significant challenges for us all. For sports governing bodies there will be less centrally-accessible funds, which could result in having to do more with less. So what are the mind sets of each political party and what are their manifestos for sport? During this year, the 2015 Rugby World Cup will help to highlight the UK's exceptional playing surfaces, along with other major international events, which continue to promote the UK's groundsmanship expertise across the world. As for the IOG, 2015 will be a busy year with the relocation of SALTEX to the Birmingham NEC on the 4-5 November alongside this year's IOG Conference and Awards. The 2014 event was the best on record and we thank all award entrants, sponsors and delegates who helped to make the event so enjoyable. One plea arising from the event however, is that we have an unclaimed signed British Lions shirt, which was auctioned off on the night. If you are the mystery bidder could you please make yourself known to the team at MK as your £500 donation will take the funds raised past the £4,000 mark. The charity was Finlay's Fighters which really could use your donation. And finally, it was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Mike Beardall at the end of last year. Mike held the post of editor of the Groundsman magazine for 11 years, until December 2006. He was a friend of the industry and a great contributor to the IOG. We share our sympathies with Mike's family and will be forever grateful for his contribution to the IOG over this period. Have a happy and healthy 2015. Geoff Webb, Chief Executive, The Institute of Groundsmanship Reflecting on challenges W The 2015 Rugby World Cup will help to highlight the UK's exceptional playing surfaces, along with other major international events this year " " Contributors Karen Maxwell Managing editor Colin Hoskins Features editor Paul Groves Product editor Christopher Bassett Managing Director, Fusion Media

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