BALI chair to champion small firms

Association chair-elect Chris Carr pledges to use his term to turn focus on domestic contractors.

The man who takes over the chairmanship of BALI in September is to use his role to beef up support for domestic contractors.

Chair-elect Chris Carr, who takes over the association's top job from Paul Cowell at Saltex, said his tenure will be unlike those of the past because he is an affiliate member. Cowell is a designer and contractor and his predecessor, Richard Gardiner, was also a contractor.

Carr, sales and marketing manager at Q Lawns on the Norfolk-Suffolk border, said: "Domestic contractors are out on site often on their own and professional support can be more crucial than for larger companies.

"The latter often have their own infrastructure and other people to rely on. I am a past chair of the Turfgrass Growers Association and Q Lawns is my baby. But I'm passionate about small businesses and want to see them grow and enjoy a greater sense of belonging at BALI."

Carr said he wanted to get back to more traditional "buddy-buddy" systems such as networking-group meetings. Social media has its place in the market, he said, but overemphasis on emails and other new media risks losing the personal touch.

Meanwhile, Q Lawns hosted an open day at its farm in Brandon last week to demonstrate turf and green-roof technology. The firm announced new roof product, Native Flora Mat, a mineral and recycled green-waste substrate supporting poppies, yarrow and cornflowers.

The 150mm substrate holds more water for greater longevity in dry weather, said marketing and promotions manager Angela Lambert. Unlike sedum, which has low-lying green and reddish plant life, the new product has taller plants and vibrant colour.

"Sedum is great for commercial buildings but some people want more depth to the planting and to see a variety of colour," she added. "Native Flora Mat needs a deeper substrate but is sustainable - we trialled it successfully on the Natural History Museum."

Film role for turf

Pinewood Studios recently bought swathes of a meadow-mix turf with 34 perennial species from Q Lawns for the set of a new Russell Crowe film.

The movie's production directors came on site to select in-flower turf sections to be cut and trucked to Pinewood, according to Q Lawns production manager Robert Allen.

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