The Countryside Alliance Awards, also known as the ‘Rural Oscars’, our gold standard awards are returning for their 14th year and this is your chance to be a part of the highlight of the rural calendar. Thousands of nominations will be submitted; skills and produce, tradition, enterprise, and the people behind the businesses will be judged; and the champions crowned.

The Awards are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of British food & farming, enterprise and heritage through our small hard-working businesses. They are set apart from other award schemes because they are driven by public nomination, offering customers the chance to tell us why their favourite businesses are worthy of national acclaim. Judges will not just be looking for evidence of great produce, customer service and innovation, but stories of how businesses serve their communities. A previous nomination said: “This business will not just go the extra mile. They will pick you up and carry you the extra mile.” We want to hear about businesses that go beyond the call of duty.

The categories for nomination are as follows:

  • Local Food & Drink
  • Village Shop/ Post Office
  • Butcher
  • Rural Enterprise
  • Pub

Nominations are now open and will close on 9 December 2018 with regional champions announced in May 2019. The final will then be held in June 2019 at the House of Lords.

Nominations can be made online at the Countryside Alliance website here.

Countryside Alliance Awards Director Sarah Lee commented: “These awards are a fantastic way to applaud our rural businesses for all the hard work that they do to help keep our local communities alive. It is such an honour to be able to recognise the rural businesses that represent the best in Britain’s entrepreneurial spirit and who do a great job to promote our beautiful countryside. I would urge everyone who wants to support their local businesses and communities to nominate them and give them the boost they so richly deserve.”

Ends..

Notes to editors:

  • Nominations will be accepted until 9th December 2018. Shortlisting will then take place and regional finalists selected.
  • More information about the awards can be found online here: www.countryside-alliance.org/caawards
  • Our regions are: South West, South East, East, Midlands, North East, North West, Yorkshire and Wales.
  • English regional champions will be announced in May, propelling them to the Grand Final, to be held at Parliament in June 2019. Welsh Champions will be declared at the Senedd in April and will join English finalists at the Houses of Parliament in May.
  • Overall champions are chosen by a judging panel which includes Waitrose Food Editor and Masterchef judge, William Sitwell, Philip Johnston, Assistant Editor of the Daily Telegraph, Emma Penny of Farmers Guardian, Peter Gott of Sillfield Farm (and founder of Borough Market), Clarissa Dickson Wright’s friend Sally Merison, Baroness Mallalieu and Tim Bonner, CEO of the Countryside Alliance. Meet the judges here.
  • Meet previous winners here: http://www.countryside-alliance.org/campaigns/caawards/previous-winners/
  • Nominations can be cast more than once in any or all categories.
  • Follow the Awards on Twitter using the hashtag #RuralOscars.
  • Join the Countryside Alliance Awards Facebook Group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/countrysideallianceawards/?source_id=116283685076903
  • Scotland runs a separate awards scheme and therefore businesses trading in Scotland are not eligible for the Countryside Alliance Awards.
  • The Clarissa Dickson Wright Award, set up in memory of the celebrated cook and countryside campaigner, will be the regional winner displaying the biggest commitment to food and farming, campaigning and education.
  • A photo of the 2017 Champions, taken on the terrace at the Houses of Parliament, is inserted

For more information contact the press office on 0207 840 9220 or email [email protected]