JCB serves up 10,000 meals

JCB serves up 10,000 meals: JCB’s ‘Food for our Communities’ initiative today served up a major milestone as the 10,000th meal was despatched from the company’s kitchens for those in need in Staffordshire.

Since the launch of the scheme  – the idea of Carole Bamford, wife of JCB Chairman Lord Bamford –  catering staff at the World HQ in Rocester have been busily preparing cottage pies, macaroni cheese and bolognese dishes for disadvantaged families and individuals across the region during the Coronavirus crisis.

JCB serves up 10,000 meals

JCB serves up 10,000 meals

Today the 10,000th meal was cooked and despatched from the JCB kitchen – just a month after the initiative started. So far, the team has used around two tonnes of potatoes, more than one tonne of minced beef and almost half a tonne of both pasta and onions to prepare the dishes.

In India – where JCB has factories in Delhi, Pune and Jaipur – the scale of the initiative is even greater and staff there have now prepared a staggering 100,000 meals.

Carole Bamford, wife of JCB Chairman Lord Bamford, said: “I’m very proud of all the work the teams in the UK and India are undertaking. Their efforts are making a real difference to the lives of so many people in our communities.”

Thousands of the meals made in Staffordshire are being distributed across Stoke-on-Trent by the Burslem-based Hubb Foundation, to children and families in need across the city.

Founder Carol Shanahan said: “You cannot underestimate the impact the JCB ‘Food for our Communities’ initiative is having on families in our city. Those receiving the food are just so very grateful that companies like JCB are stepping in to help at this time. It’s simply amazing.”

Since launch, the project has been expanded to include sandwiches and so far, more than 2,000 have been made for distribution to the homeless in Stoke-on-Trent and for inclusion in food parcels for vulnerable people in the Uttoxeter area. JCB is also supplying St. Michael’s Church Support Group in Rocester with 100 meals a week for villagers who are in need.

JCB Chef Alastair Rowe said: “It is very rewarding for the whole team to be involved in this project. We have had some wonderful feedback which shows our communities really do appreciate what JCB is doing at this time.”

As well as providing thousands of meals, JCB has also donated vital PPE to front line workers and JCB and its employees have volunteered to produce facemasks for the NHS. Inspired by these efforts,  JCB-sponsored athletes, slalom canoeist Adam Burgess and triple jumper Ben Williams, took on a marathon weight lifting challenge and have so far raised more than £2,400 for the Royal Stoke Hospital.

JCB’s kitchens in Staffordshire are being supported with the provision of food from organic farms at Daylesford in Gloucestershire. Daylesford – founded by Carole Bamford – has supplied organic beef mince to the project, with staff working seven days a week to support the food aid initiative.

In the UK, JCB is also working with Stoke-on-Trent City Council, which is distributing JCB meals to vulnerable adults and children across the city.

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Celebrating 10 years of seminars

Celebrating 10 years of seminars: Dennis and SISIS are celebrating an impressive decade of groundcare seminars this year. In this article, we look at the history and development of the seminars and how they have proved to be so beneficial for so many of the unsung heroes in a wide variety of sports turf sectors.   

The ever-popular Dennis and SISIS groundcare seminars, are first and foremost, education-based events, supported by expert speakers with both indoor presentations and outdoor practical sessions. The seminars aim to connect like-minded people where they can find advice, learn new skills and techniques as well as offer fantastic networking opportunities. A large number of groundcare individuals have significantly benefitted from attending the seminars over the years including volunteers and professionals representing schools, sports clubs, local authorities and contractors.

Celebrating 10 years of seminars

Celebrating 10 years of seminars

The humble origins of the seminars can be traced back long before this ten-year period when both Dennis and SISIS were operating as separate entities and hosted educational groundcare events for their respective customer bases.  However, in 2011, SISIS was acquired by the Howardson Group to sit alongside Dennis as a division to provide the groundcare industry with a truly comprehensive range of British manufactured turf maintenance products. It was at this point in history that the two manufacturers combined their extensive knowledge and expertise and the groundcare seminars were taken to another level.

This monumental year saw a series of seminars addressing a wide range of sports turf topics including a dedicated bowls seminar which took place in North Kessock, Scotland; and a cricket themed seminar which took place at Uxbridge Cricket Club in Middlesex, London.

These early seminars set the precedent and over the years, they continued to evolve. From winter pitch maintenance, to early spring maintenance; from renovations to soil core clinics – the seminars have, and continue to, offer advice in a number of groundcare aspects.

As the seminars grew in stature, support and reputation, so too did the illustrious and extensive list of expert speakers. Take for example the expert panel at the most recent seminar held at Durham County Cricket Club’s Emirates Riverside which included Vic Demain (Durham CCC), Karl McDermott (MCC, Lord’s), Jim Dawson (BT Murrayfield) and Keith Kent (Head Pitch Advisor to Rugby Groundsmen Connected).

From the first seminar in North Kessock to the most recent at the Emirates Riverside, the series of seminars have accumulated some truly astonishing statistics.

  • 87 venues across the country
  • 550 hours of education
  • Expert speakers covering 300 informative sessions
  • Over 4,800 delegates

Whether a groundsman or a greenkeeper in employment or a volunteer; whether highly experienced or just starting out in the industry; throughout this ten-year period so many people associated with the maintenance of sports turf have benefited from attending the Dennis and SISIS seminars. One look at some of the testimonials which have been gathered over the years are certainly testament to this.

Vic Demain has been a long-term supporter of the seminars and has been a speaker at many over the years: “Having been involved with the Dennis and SISIS cricket groundcare seminars since their launch in 2011, it has been fascinating to see the growth of the events, together with the interest shown by the industry.

“The beauty of many of these events is being able to share time with likeminded folk, making new contacts and discovering that no matter what level one works at, we all have the same passion. The interaction between presenters and delegates at these events will give the audience a desire to get back onto their grounds.”

Commenting on the seminars, Keith Kent explained why he feels they are so valuable: “I think that as part of everybody’s education, every day should be a school day and these seminars, where there are such high-quality speakers, are a vital opportunity to progress.

Commenting on a bowls seminar held at the Backworth Miners Welfare Bowls Club in Newcastle upon Tyne, Robert Blacklock from North Tyneside local authority said: “I’ve found the day to be extremely useful and informative with excellent presentations. I do not have a lot of experience in this field and have recently started some courses on turf maintenance. The seminar was not overwhelming, and it was pitched at the correct level.”

Nigel Pearce, Head Groundsman at Lechlade Cricket Club, attended a seminar at  Gloucestershire County Cricket Club along with his chairman and revealed that it was beneficial for the both of them: “For me it was great to catch up with a number of fellow groundsmen who I already knew and it was good to meet new ones as well. It was also really interesting listening to speakers like Chris Wood and having the opportunity to go out and look at the square. My chairman also came along with me today and I’m really pleased because he has learnt a lot about what I do and received an insight into the issues I may encounter on a day-to-day basis.”

Speaking at a renovation seminar held at St Albans School, Woollam Trust Playing Fields, Lee Marshallsay, Grounds Manager at Charterhouse School said: “It’s been very beneficial for my team and I like the fact that it is aimed at everyone – it’s not just for those in the top positions. To get everyone together from grass roots upwards works really well. I think the indoor seminars and the outdoor practical demonstrations have provided a good mix. You get to see the machines in action and many people here wouldn’t have seen that before so for them to have more of an idea of what equipment is out there is ideal.”

Derek Traill of Cricket Scotland, summarised the seminars perfectly after attending the most recent event in Durham: “The key message coming out of today’s event is that it is all about communication and to strive to learn off one another – we learn from one another’s experiences, failures and successes and from these we can build on them and improve as one,” he said.

Although we are currently facing testing times, Dennis and SISIS are looking forward to resuming the seminars with the groundcare community.

“I’m extremely proud to be celebrating ten years of groundcare seminars – they have a long history and a great tradition,” said Roger Moore, Sales and Marketing Manager. “The seminars are about attendees getting as much information as they can and making the day enjoyable. They can go away with some excellent knowledge which they can then put into practice on their own sites. Over the years the events have been a tremendous success and I am looking forward to continuing our support for the groundcare community.”

Further information about the range of maintenance products available can be found by visiting /

For more news, reviews and insightful views, you can follow Dennis on Twitter and Instagram @DennisMowers and SISIS @SISISMachinery. You can like the Facebook pages – and You can also view the latest Dennis and SISIS videos by visiting and

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CEuk Celebrate 10 Years In Business

CEuk Celebrate 10 Years In Business: 10 years ago, CEuk’s small team of three friends attended APF with nothing more than a folding table, gazebo and a selection of pruning handsaws, fast forward to 2019 and the brand is now recognised as one of the main specialists in outdoor professional products.

CE stands for Cutting Edge and the product range stays true to its name, the British company continues to evolve whilst providing bladed products for arborists, forestry, landscaping, gardening, agriculture, survivalist, metal detecting and many more industries. It offers genuine value for money tools alongside a service that goes the extra mile to give great customer satisfaction.

CEuk Celebrate 10 Years In Business

From the beginning the team has listened to feedback, acted upon it by making improvements and responding with new products that offer more benefits and at a reasonable price – the business has evolved with this at its core.

Founder Chris Gottfried said: “We are passionate about our products and the industries they serve; our customers are at the heart of our business and by attending various industry shows throughout the year we have an opportunity to get first-hand feedback and input from them. It is this feedback that has helped us to develop a product range that suits numerous industries perfectly and has allowed us to build valuable and lasting relationships with our customers.

“Looking forward a further 10 years, we want to be the best at what we do and continue to work as hard as we can to provide excellent products that meet the changing needs of our customers.”

CEuk products have been distributed by EP Barrus since April 2018 and Phil Noble, sales and technical manager at EP Barrus said: “Our partnership with CEuk has been a great success, the products have a wide-ranging appeal and the Barrus dealer network is the perfect cross-over between the professional and consumer customers that the products are aimed at. I am looking forward to seeing how the company continues to grow and the new products that are introduced in the future.”

The product range:

Stallion Telescopic Handsaw – makes easy work of cutting hard to reach branches

Nokota Saw and Lopper Pruner – probably the smallest and lightest polesaw on the market

Trojan Hand Saw – engineered for the professional, available in five lengths

Noble folding Saw – a multi purpose folding saw that keeps the blade covered until needed

Root Assassin – a 2-in-1 saw and shovel for cutting roots easily and quickly whilst digging

To organise an exclusive interview with Chris Gottfried contact Paskett PR on 01332 258335 or email or

For more information on CEuk and for stockist information visit

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10 Years Of Wildflowers For Hampshire Manor

10 Years Of Wildflowers For Hampshire Manor: A Hampshire wildflower meadow, grown and supplied by Wildflower Turf Ltd in 2008, has recently reached the ripe old age of ten.

A decade after it was installed at Grade II listed Ashley Manor in the Test Valley, the wildflower meadow continues to thrive and provide a safe haven for an abundance of wildlife. Improving long term biodiversity and ensuring a species rich habitat is now an important goal for landscape designers, and Ashley Manor is testament that a well-maintained wildflower meadow offers great longevity and can be relied upon to provide colour and interest year after year.

10 Years Of Wildflowers For Hampshire Manor

At the commencement of the original landscaping endeavour in September 2008, Wildflower Turf, a soil-less, pre-grown wildflower mat, was installed across two tiers of the steep south and west facing banks to the rear of Ashley Manor.

In total, 655m² of Wildflower Turf was laid and, despite the challenging profile of the banks and only a thin layer of top soil to work with, the installation of the turf was achieved without the use of pegging. A late-summer installation also meant that the turf did not require any additional watering.

The turf rooted in quickly and established itself well over the winter months, flowering beautifully in the spring and summer of 2009. The perennial Red Campion variety did particularly well on the lower slopes and the turf also acted very successfully as a weed suppressing mat.

The wildflower meadow at Ashley Manor also formed a home for a number of mammals and invertebrates, with voles and slow worms quickly taking up residence.

As well as the obvious aesthetic and wildlife benefits, ten years of meadow management has also given Ashley Manor’s Head Gardener, Olly Samways, ample opportunity to trial and perfect his meadow cutting regime.

Initially, a two-cut approach was used, with the first cut usually undertaken in late June. This regime greatly assisted with the initial establishment of the late season varieties in the turf, as well as allowing for the removal of old growth that would have otherwise started to compost and raise nutrient levels by the autumn.  In recent years Olly has swapped to a single-cut regime, with the meadow beneficially requiring less maintenance as it has matured.

Managing Director of Wildflower Turf Ltd, James Hewetson-Brown, said, “We already knew from the 15-year-old Wildflower Turf meadow at our production site that, if properly established, wildflowers offer a long-term solution requiring little maintenance.  Olly’s positive feedback over all these years has expanded our knowledge and confidence in our products and we are grateful for his interest and passion.”

Ashley Manor Head Gardener, Olly Samways concurs, “Our experience with our Wildflower Turf over the last decade has been excellent and I have no reservations at all about waxing lyrical about it to anyone who asks about it.” Olly continued, “Whenever I give tours around the garden, the wildflower areas continue to draw the most interest, as they have done every year since the turf was installed.”

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