HTA forms permanent marketing committee and plans consumer gardening website

The HTA's new marketing committee is to become a permanent fixture, David Gwyther told delegates at the HTA business briefing at Webbs Garden Centre in Ryton last week.

A temporary committee was installed last autumn to discuss the key issues facing growers and retailers. But Gwyther announced that HTA president Caroline Owen had agreed to chair a permanent committee.

Gwyther said: "We have a new marketing committee. We got a group of growers, retailers and suppliers together before Christmas to see whether there was some common ground we could work on as an industry. That committee has decided to carry on and we will report more later in the year."

He added that the initial meeting had identified two key areas for action - a new consumer gardening website and enhanced market support.

Gwyther said the website would provide pictures, inspiration, how-to guides, links on gardening, community and social networking links and linking that national website into individual members' websites.

"By the autumn I would hope we will have a pilot scheme up. That should encourage participation from suppliers and sundry providers. There is already investment for sponsorship from major suppliers."

On market support, he said the committee would co-ordinate the various marketing campaigns carried out by the HTA. As part of this work the HTA is to hire an extra PR officer, doubling its current staff.

Gwyther said it would continue with the PlantforLife scheme beyond its current funding cycle. "We need to be planning how we get more money for the future and how we get more money from Brussels," he added. "The marketing committee will carry on and we will be looking for other volunteers to come on board soon."

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