Looking back on the last 12 months, we can reflect on a year of challenge and change, and as an industry, say with pride that together we have played a significant role in the national pandemic effort.

At the core of our work in 2021 has been a greater focus on communication. As the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic continued to be felt across the globe, we ensured timely information was channelled out appropriately and digital platforms were improved. Online innovation was a continuing priority in 2021, as the association, wider industry and society as a whole, adapted to ongoing pandemic restrictions in the first part of the year.

To coincide with the end of the Brexit Transition Period, the BCGA hosted a webinar with four different Government Departments, giving members a chance to engage with the organisations including BEIS, DfT, Defra and HMRC.

The BCGA Annual Conference, held over two days in April, also went virtual and included the inaugural BCGA Industry Recognition Awards, judged by a panel of independent experts. The conference also saw the launch of a refreshed brand, with an updated logo for the association.

Government minister in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Lord Callanan gave a keynote speech at the conference, thanking the industry for its work in providing medical gases during the Covid-19 pandemic and setting out the importance of the sector in seeking innovate solutions on the road to carbon Net Zero. The event was a great success and the BCGA Member Awards will return for the 2022 conference, which will be held in Manchester.

The importance of digital provision was highlighted again in June, when we were able to offer members a free webinar with marketing expert Tania Morrill, who gave attendees a masterclass in digital marketing as well as offering insight the world of marketing and creative communications.

Read more: Preview – BCGA Annual Conference 2022

The value of this was appreciated by members, particularly as digital platforms and social media have come to the fore over the last 18 months. To reflect the digital drive, BCGA also unveiled a brand new website in November, showcasing the our publications, latest news and information on topics such as the role gases can play in creating alternative vehicle fuels to help combat climate change, a subject that we can all relate to the importance of.

Campaigns and comms

The importance of clear and effective communications was a priority highlighted by the BCGA early in 2021 as we continued our campaign for a ban on retail sales of nitrous oxide. Through effective lobbying, we prompted a parliamentary discussion in parliament in late 2020, which evolved into dialogue with the Home Office early this year.

Our communications strategy also pushed the ‘key concerns over misuse of nitrous oxide’ message out to organisations supporting young people - and the general public - while reassuring the compressed gases sector that the ban would not affect legitimate uses in healthcare, catering and industry. The BCGA campaign has been shortlisted for a number of awards.

The BCGA has also been heavily involved in STEM, partnering with several organisations promoting STEM subjects to schools, colleges and universities such as Primary Engineer and 95% Club. The topic will also be discussed at the annual conference, on a panel including winners of the BCGA’s Rising Star Awards from 2021.

Whether you’re a rising star or otherwise, I hope you found this overview useful and be sure to keep in touch in 2022.