CHESTER, UK: The UK’s Garden Centre Association (GCA) members will find out who has come out on top in its annual inspections this year at regional award meetings taking place from late August (2021).
Garden centres are encouraged to attend the event in their area to celebrate the efforts and achievements of their team members during this difficult year.
Iain Wylie, Chief Executive of the GCA, said: “Unfortunately, Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions last year (2020) and in early 2021 meant we were unable to perform our annual inspections or hold our regional award meetings in person.
“However, I am pleased to say that we are able to have them this year, albeit a bit later than normal, as inspectors have been able to make Covid-safe visits to garden centres to complete their annual inspections.
“These inspections are important to our members as they receive feedback and can see where our inspectors are highlighting best practice and new exciting ideas. We will also be announcing all the category winners.”
The Wales and the West Area award meeting will take place on Tuesday, August 24 at Pugh’s Garden Centre, Wenvoe (The Vale) and the inspector attending will be Gordon Emslie.
Gordon will also be presenting for the Midlands region on Wednesday, August 25 at Stratford Garden Centre.
The Scotland and Northern Ireland region will meet at Klondyke Mortonhall Garden Centre on Thursday, August 26 with inspector Colin Farquhar.
The following week on Tuesday, August 31 inspector Phil McCann will present his findings at Haskins Snowhill for South Thames.
The North Thames area meets on Wednesday, September 1, venue to be confirmed, with inspector Andy Campbell.
The last area awards meeting will be held on Thursday, September 2 for the North East & North West region with inspector Alyson Haywood at Tong Garden Centre
Iain added: “Many GCA members have said that our unique annual inspections and constructive feedback sessions are one of the biggest benefits of membership. It is a fantastic motivational and management tool and really keeps staff on their toes, making sure they are always doing their absolute best.
“Garden centres receive no advance warning about when their inspection will take place and they do not have the option to turn away the inspector. It is all about making sure they are offering a consistently excellent service and improving their customer service standards, which is what all GCA garden centres must do to remain members.
“The results of the inspections form the basis for many GCA awards, including Destination Garden Centre of the Year, Garden Centre of the Year, Area Winners, Highly Commended and Most improved Garden Centre. The top 10 centres will receive a Garden Centre of Excellence Award and all centres scoring 75% or above receive the Highly Commended certificate.”
The GCA represents nearly 200 garden centres nationwide. Through sharing information and its inspection programme the GCA helps members to achieve high standards in customer service, plant quality and reliability.
Photograph caption two: Iain Wylie, GCA Chief Executive.