Year in Review: Jayne Southall – A record year

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I can’t believe it’s time to write this article again. The year has flown by, and I’m convinced it’s because each day in our jobs are so varied – and because we’re always looking forward to the next big event.

I’m proud that it’s been a record year for us here at the Showground.

We’re seeing continued growth in our events business and the calendar is becoming more and more diverse each year, which is great both for us and for Lincoln.

Our own events – the Lincolnshire Farming Conference, Countryside Lincs, The Lincolnshire Show and the Lincolnshire Food & Gift Fair – have all had their own successes in 2016.

One I will mention is our newest event, Countryside Lincs, which saw a huge 300% increase in visitor numbers this year.

We’re already well underway with the planning for 2017 and look forward to welcoming even more families to learn about food, farming and the countryside through fun, hands-on activities and displays. Our shared Christmas Party night will also see over 800 people celebrating the festive season this year!

Another huge event for us in 2016 was hosting Elton John to Lincoln, an outdoor concert which was attended by an incredible 17,000 people.

Bringing concerts to Lincoln is a big focus for us, and after working with local promotors Major Label to put on Ocean Colour Scene, Shed Seven and Dodgy, we’re excited to be working with them again in 2017, with The Human League already announced for May.

Aside from music, we work hard to attract large outdoor events which can utilise areas, or all of the space we have available across our 270 acre site.

Two new events this year, which really demonstrated how flexible we can be, were TR Register International Weekend and Lincoln Comic-Con.

The Epic Centre is perfectly designed for dinners, conferences and award ceremonies, and this year we’ve had the pleasure of hosting LEP Business Live, the Lincolnshire Sports Awards, the Lincolnshire Business Expo and the Lincolnshire Media Business Awards – all of which celebrate the people and businesses of Lincoln.

Everything we achieve helps to support our charitable objectives as the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society.

We run lots of schemes to educate people, especially children, about food and farming. This included inviting over 150 school children to our Farmhouse Breakfast Week and helping schools to plant their own seed potatoes as part of the national Grow Your Own Potatoes scheme. All of  which are educational opportunities we provide at the Lincolnshire Show, most notable the Schools Challenge, which more than 60 schools now participate in.

This year, we launched our Tractors into Schools initiative, which saw local farmers take a tractor along to a school playground to give children the chance to learn about the machinery, meet farmers and find out about their day-to-day jobs.

We well exceeded our target of taking tractors into 50 schools, and we’re looking forward to growing it in 2017.

Outside of the Showground, we work closely with the University of Lincoln to provide projects for 1st, 2nd and 3rd year students and sponsor the prize for the most outstanding Event Management student.

We also sponsor Riseholme College’s best student of the year, and we’re now home to Bishop Burton College’s latest campus.

Despite selling some of our land for the new campus, we were able to buy another piece and we used this as a member’s car park for the 2016 Lincolnshire Show as an extra thank you for their support, and all they help us to facilitate, as members of the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society.

We’ve also invested in a new car park outside of the Epic Centre, which has been warmly received and improvement and development of the Showground is a continued focus.