THE awakening of the flooring industry from its enforced lockdown-related hibernation – at least with respect to face-to-face events – was celebrated in style at the CFJ/CFA Awards 2021.
Held in the Coombe Abbey marquee in Warwickshire on Friday 3 September, and with guest speaker Rev Richard Coles adding a pinch of celebrity gold dust, the awards saw joyous reunions among members of the industry, many of whom hadn’t seen each other for more than 18 months.
With 340 guests attending, the event was the biggest yet held by CFJ and the Contract Flooring Association (CFA). Several awards were given out in three different sections: products, installations, and special achievements. All winners will be named in the October edition of CFJ.
Some notable wins included those by MacGregor Flooring and Polyflor for the Louisa Jordan SEC Glasgow installation (Installation of the Year); Jack Gray of Veitchi Flooring as Apprentice of the Year (AOTY); Peter Kelsey, chief executive of Designer Contracts, for Outstanding Achievement; and Polyflor for Manufacturer of the Year.
Carpet & Flooring came out tops in Distributor of the Year while Interface claimed the Sustainability Initiative award, one of three for the manufacturer.
The independent panel of judges – Fiona Bowman, senior FM consultant; John Butler, flooring contractor; Richard Catt, chief executive of the CFA; and Richard Renouf, independent flooring consultant – was effusive in its praise for the Louisa Jordan installation.
‘In this exceptional period for the world, this installation was an additional facility to help those stricken by Covid-19,’ it said. ‘The work done showed the best of the UK flooring industry, with companies such as MacGregor Flooring and Veitchi Flooring working together to deliver three months’ worth of work in a few days.’
The award was announced by Richard Catt who said presenting it was one of the highlights of his year. ‘The winner this year reflects the industry coming together and providing our input into responding to the pandemic. As several judges observed, the winner worked with suppliers, and competitors, to install an incredible amount of flooring in the shortest possible period, and to ensure in a worst-case scenario, people could be treated for coronavirus.’
CFA president, Hamish MacGregor, who handed over the AOTY award, said of the winner Jack Gray:
‘This year’s competition produced several high-quality entries from apprentices all over the UK, but it was Jack’s excellent application along with superb recommendations from both his employer and his tutor that lead the judges to their decision. Jack was able to provide a wealth of photos and experiences in the form of a digital case study which the judges were firmly impressed with coming to a unanimous decision that Jack was the worthy winner.’
Peter Kelsey, meanwhile, said his award came ‘out of the blue’, but it was richly deserved. As head of the largest flooring contractor in the UK, he’s ensured his company hasn’t only survived but thrived during the pandemic. He regularly donates to charity and, once the scale of the effect of the pandemic on employees’ mental health became apparent, he put a support programme in place for them.
Handing over the trophies was Rev Coles, the celebrity speaker who has won fame as a radio presenter, journalist, parish priest in the Church of England, and as one half of the ‘80s pop band, The Communards. With his dry sense-of-humour and eye for detail, he amused the audience by reminiscing about his journey from being a boy in Kettering to someone who can now safely be described as a national treasure.
‘The success of the awards, and the sheer joy expressed by so many of the guests at seeing their friends in the industry again, has exceeded our wildest expectations,’ said John Heath, chief executive of Kick-Start Publishing, which publishes CFJ.
‘Of course, we were cognisant of the fact that the pandemic isn’t quite over yet, and that that might deter people from coming. But, in the final analysis, it all went okay on the day. We couldn’t be happier.’
Stuart Bourne, managing director of Kick-Start Publishing and CFJ, echoed those sentiments. ‘This is just the start. Now that we know there’s an appetite for an annual celebration of this nature, we’ll be pulling out all the stops to ensure we make this event bigger and better every year from now on.’
The date for next year’s awards will be held on Friday 9 September 2022 at Coombe Abbey. Contact Stuart Bourne (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like more information or would like to book a table.