The Garden Centre Association (GCA) has announced (October 2022) that its annual conference will return in January (January 22-25, 2023) after previously being postponed due to Covid in 2021 and 2022. The conference, which will include talks, industry updates and opportunities to network, takes place at the Mercure Blackburn Dunkenhalgh Hotel and Spa in Lancashire from January 22 until 25.
GCA Chairman, Tammy Woodhouse, said: “We are thrilled that our annual conference will be back for January 2023 and we wanted to let people know booking for the event is now open, so if you are hoping to attend, please visit the members’ section of our website via www.gca.org.uk to reserve your place.
“We’re thrilled to finally be heading to the 700-year-old Mercure Blackburn Dunkenhalgh Hotel and Spa, a recently renovated venue in the picturesque Lancashire countryside, combining modern facilities with historic characteristics, all set in 17 acres. Members can expect a line-up of top-quality speakers and plenty of opportunities to catch up with friends, colleagues and associates from the industry in person at last. This will be our 56th annual conference and looks set to be a fantastic event.”
The conference kicks off on Sunday, January 22 with the Greenfingers Challenge Cup at Barton Grange Garden Centre’s entertainment venue, the Flower Bowl. The evening will be full of fundraising activities and friendly competition to raise money for the charity, Greenfingers. Transport is available from the hotel directly to the Flower Bowl and back, to book, please visit www.gca.org.uk.
Tammy adds: “Monday’s (January 23) part of the conference will focus on the operational side of our industry and will include presentations from our inspectors around best practice in our industry, plus talks from a range of inspiring and engaging business speakers to help motivate us for the year ahead. In the evening it will be our eagerly anticipated fancy-dress Associates Dinner, which is themed as ‘The Great GCA Garden Party’.
“During the day on Tuesday (January 24) there will be more of a focus on the strategic element of the business, with opportunities to listen to some inspirational speakers and a chance to help attendees define their strategy for 2023 and beyond. Topics covered include the economy, leadership and business development with a particular emphasis on the environment and sustainability.
“There will also be our Associate’s Exhibition providing the chance to meet suppliers in an informal setting before concluding in the evening with our annual black-tie gala dinner and our famed awards ceremony.”
The GCA represents nearly 200 garden centres nationwide.