December 31, 2017 7.00 am This story is over 76 months old

Reflections 2017: Jayne Southall – A year full of exciting developments and new events

Reflections from the Lincolnshire Showground CEO.

It feels like only yesterday we were rounding up a record year to celebrate the success of 2016 at the Lincolnshire Showground – but yet another year has flown by, packed full of exciting developments and brand new events.

Our diverse calendar of events continues to grow year on year, and 2017 has been no exception. With a team that doesn’t stand still, we’re always looking ahead and thinking of new ways to grow our events business. In addition to the four events that we organise ourselves annually – the Lincolnshire Farming Conference, Countryside Lincs, the Lincolnshire Show and the Lincolnshire Food & Gift Fair – this year the Showground also launched its very own Summer’s End Ball and Fireworks at the Showground.

Our shared Christmas party night proved to be another big hit with over 800 partygoers this year joining us to see in the festive season in style, and our two comedy nights each year continue to grow.

We were pleased to work with local promoters Major Label again in 2017 to host The Human League and Razorlight in May, and bringing concerts to Lincoln remains a big focus of ours – with an exciting recent announcement that Little Mix will be performing at the showground in July 2018.

Another huge event for us this year was the return of Poacher’s International Scout and Guide Jamboree, welcoming scouts and guides from all over the world for a week of activities. We’ve also had the pleasure of hosting LEP Business Live, the Lincolnshire Sports Awards, the Lincolnshire Business Expo and the Lincolnshire Digital and Tech Awards – all of which celebrate the people and businesses of Lincoln.

Looking forward to 2018, we’re excited to bring even more brand new events to the Showground – including Prosecco Festival and Oktoberfest.

Did you know that we are the home of the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society? It’s something which we don’t always shout loud enough about, but everything that we achieve helps to support our charitable objectives. We run lots of schemes and interactive initiatives to educate people, especially children, about food and farming throughout the year.

In January, we invited more than 150 local school children to our Farmhouse Breakfast Week to learn about healthy eating and where their breakfast foods come from. Countryside Lincs is an action-packed day full of hands-on food and farming activities, and not forgetting all of the educational opportunities we provide at the Lincolnshire Show, most notable the Schools’ Challenge which more than 60 local schools now participate in.

This year saw the return of our Tractors into Schools initiative, which invites local farmers to take a tractor along to a school playground to give children the opportunity to learn about the machinery, meet farmers and learn all about their day-to-day jobs. We also launched a new educational event to celebrate and promote everything that’s great about our county for Lincolnshire Day, welcoming primary school children from across Lincolnshire to the Showground for an action-packed day of fun and interactive sessions all related to Lincolnshire’s food, farming, aviation, heritage and tourism.

Children had the opportunity to make cheese, get creative with different arts and crafts and learn all about the different crops that are grown in our county – plus more!

It’s important to mention that despite being a charity ourselves, we do all that we can to support other local charities, including our ‘Charity of the Year’ initiative, which this year has been shared between the Jog Egging Trust and the RAF Charitable Trust. We support the organisers of Cancer Research’s Race for Life and Pretty Muddy, the Lincoln Half Marathon and the St Barnabas Colour Dash, and we were honoured to ask to be involved in the planning and preparation for the new Scampton Air Show. In return, we appreciate all of the support shown to us by other Lincolnshire businesses and our local community.

All that’s left for us to say is a huge thank you for being a part of another incredible year for us here at the showground. From all of the team, we’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We hope that you’ll join us again in 2018 for what is already shaping up to be another exciting year ahead.

Jayne Southall is CEO at the Lincolnshire Showground.