Rural businesses from across Britain are celebrating today following last night’s Rural Business Awards ceremony, held at the exceptional grade II heritage building, The Monastery in Manchester.
Run with support from Amazon, the awards aim to recognise and celebrate the successes of businesses operating in the UK’s rural economy. In England alone, contributions from the rural business sector add up to nearly a fifth of the country’s total economic activity.
Founded by rural-based businesswomen, Jemma Clifford and Anna Price, the Rural Business Awards are judged by an independent panel drawn from the rural business sector, public sector agencies, and charitable organisations. Award categories range from Best Rural Start-up and Best Rural Diversification Project through to Best Rural Professional Services Business and Best Rural Tourism Business.
“The Rural Business Awards shines a much-deserved spotlight on the innovators, creators and inventors in rural communities across the UK and it’s great to celebrate their successes at this year’s national final,” said Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “The calibre of businesses entering this year’s awards has been higher than ever. I’d like to congratulate all the winners and nominees and wish them continued success for the future.”
Awards co-founder Anna Price said: “The 2019/20 Rural Business Awards has been our best year yet, and our work to promote the rural sector would not be possible without the support of Amazon and our other sponsors. The calibre of entries this year was exceptional, so we’d like to wish a hearty congratulations to all our winners.”
Addressing the businesses, Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, commented: “Rural businesses make a vital contribution not only to their local communities, but to the UK economy as a whole, and it is fantastic to recognise that with these awards. This government is backing businesses across every part of the country to drive innovation and sustainable growth”.
Rural businesses make a vital contribution not only to their local communities, but to the UK economy as a whole, and it is fantastic to recognise that with these awards.
Winners included The Pheasant at Neenton in Shropshire, which grew from being a successful community-owned social enterprise into one of the hottest places to eat out in the area.
Rural Young Person of the Year was won by Charlotte Jacqueline, award-winning choreographer and professional dancer, for the Charlotte Jacqueline School of Dance.
Meanwhile, Best Rural Food or Drink Business was won by Minskip Farm Shop in Yorkshire – a farm shop where happy hens spend their days in a ‘hen spa’ before being rehomed to local families.
The Triumph Over Adversity Award
We were particularly excited to reveal the winner of the new award for Triumph Over Adversity, which recognises businesses or individuals who have overcome significant business or personal difficulties.
The first winners were Brickhouse Farm Cottages in Lancashire. Thirteen years ago, Brickhouse Farm was converted to support wheelchair use for the daughter of owners Ian and Sue Rainford, following injury in a road accident. Today, this accessible holiday accommodation provides purpose-built retreats, including hot tubs with track hoists.
After being told that an accessible retreat would not be popular, the couple fought through planning legislation and now offer twelve beautiful cottages overlooking a fishing lake – with their daughters doing the PR and marketing for the business.
As a family, we are incredibly passionate about enabling everyone to experience memorable family holidays by offering luxury, accessible holiday accommodation.
The second Triumph Over Adversity winner was Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm in East Sussex, a grower and retailer of Christmas trees alongside a shop selling wreaths, lights and decorations. After falling 30ft from a tree as a forester and becoming paralysed from the waist down, founder Clive Collin was determined to pursue his dream of running a Christmas tree farm.
Using specially adapted vehicles and equipment, Clive works on the farm, and has committed to replanting all of the harvested trees, as part of an environmental initiative.
“Following a life-changing accident while working as a forester, I refused to let anything stand in the way of pursuing my dream to run a Christmas tree farm. Receiving this award from the Rural Business Awards and Amazon really is the icing on the cake of a landmark year for us.” - Clive Collin, Owner, Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm
The full list of this year’s awards and winners can be found on the Rural Business Awards website.
Find out more about how Amazon is supporting small businesses.