Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Tim Bonner writes:

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of meeting some of the unsung heroes of the countryside as we handed out the Rural Oscars. We are very grateful to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove, who helped judge the awards and noted that these rural businesses exemplify the best in Britain’s entrepreneurial spirit.

The Rural Oscars represent the gold standard in rural business awards, and winning is a testament to a business’s commitment to hard work, community and the countryside. Our winners exemplify everything that is positive about rural life and business. We honoured Quex Barn in Kent, Perrys Butchers of Eccleshall, Pontrilas Post Office in Herefordshire, Clinks Care Farm in Norfolk, and The Swan pub in Enford who are all standard bearers of rural enterprise. You can meet our winners here.

It was also a pleasure to award The School of Artisan Food on the Welbeck Estate The Clarissa Dickson Wright Award. Clarissa admired those who were unafraid to stand up for the industry, for high welfare, slow food and a commitment to educating the next generation about where their food comes from. The judges felt that this year’s winner will keep Clarissa’s legacy alive and would have had her full support.

Consumption of game was another issue close to Clarissa’s heart, so it was fantastic we were also able to honour Blagdon Farm Shop, who won our inaugural Game Champion Award. Blagdon Farm Shop’s dedication to game was incredible, not only are they ensuring this rural community has access to great local game but they are putting their money where their mouth is and are the only independent game processor in Northumberland.

We live in changing times and it is imperative that the government creates a business environment that helps not hinders our rural businesses. Far too often we see red tape, regulation and taxation holding back these hard-working businesses when in fact we should be creating an environment which allows them to flourish and grow.

The Champions’ Reception held at the House of Lords is one of the highlights of the Alliance’s year when we get the opportunity to meet some of the most inspirational businesses that exemplify all that is great about rural Britain. We are proud to honour them.

Tim Bonner
Chief Executive
Follow me at @CA_TimB


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