Members may recall that Fforwm Tirlun was launched in S. and N. Wales in the autumn of 2002 to promote the landscape industry in Wales.
Since then we have seen a significant growth and development of the group which now comprises 117 members covering a wide spectrum of the landscape industry. We are, of course, indebted to the W.D.A. who have funded Fforwm Tirlun since its launch to the tune of £67,827.80; and have assisted us in many ways mainly with the support of Nick Ward the Agency’s Environmental Goods and Services Programme Manager. We have, however, always needed to be mindful of the W.D.A’s forthcoming exit strategy and it will thus be essential for Fforwm Tirlun to stand on its own feet and be self-financing. To this end it will be necessary to prove that there will be clear benefits to our membership for becoming a participating member. This is already becoming apparent with initiatives such as the production of the new Landscape Directory and for instance members are beginning to report that there are clear benefits to their businesses for becoming members in terms of sales growth.
We have forged a close working relationship with The Welsh College of Horticulture who provide secretarial services and David Skidmore our Chief Executive. A new 3 year contract with the College is now in place and will run up until 31.3.2006. I would like to thank Martyn Hughes for preparing the contract, which I believe provides the College with a certain amount of security and continuity. We are beginning to reap the rewards of being associated with such a high profile Institution within the landscape industry in Wales.
Our achievements over the past eighteen months have been considerable. I will outline just a few:
Our Chief Executive enabled funding to the tune of £44,280 from ELWa’s Skills Development Fund, which will lead to a major development of landscape training within Wales.
Following sound marketing advice from Joanne McKinstry, (again the marketing budget was financed by The WDA Fforwm Tirlun) has set up a show garden at The Tatton Park RHS Flower Show to promote its wares, skills and products for the various members. We are indebted to David Skidmore all the contributors and helpers for all their efforts at Tatton Park. It is unfortunate we cannot build up similar enthusiasm for the shows at Bulth Wells, but perhaps something will develop in future years.
We have forged links with academic Institutions including Swansea, Cardiff and Bangor Universities and Pencoed College; including assisting research projects on the use of Eco-composts which I am pleased to report we are now being specified on large capital projects within Wales.
We cannot deny that there have been some disappointments at Fforwm Tirlun namely the recent shelving of the buyer’s event which has now been postponed. However, we are hoping to turn this round and discussions are now in place for a relaunched event involving both Fforwm Tirlun and Landscape Institute Wales.
Finally I would like to thank the Directors of Tirlun, Company Secretary and Council members for all their hard work since the inception of the Company and the Forum; and I strongly believe that the networking now taking place between all aspects of the landscape industry within Wales is already beginning to make an impact and provide an enhanced benefit to our members. Having worked as a nurseryman’s assistant in my student days for a number of years and latterly as a landscape architect for over 30 years. I passionately believe, personally, in the ethos of Fforwm Tirlun, a unique body within the uk embracing all elements of the landscape industry; and I look forward to its continued growth over the next decade.