The Midlands’ Champions in the 2013 Countryside Alliance Awards (aka the Rural Oscars) have been announced, with top local businesses now going forward to the UK & Northern Ireland final.
The Awards are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of rural produce, skills, enterprise and heritage through our small hard-working businesses. They are now in their ninth year and have become the definitive rural business award to win.
The lucky winners will go on to represent the Midlands at the UK & Northern Ireland finals at Parliament in Westminster on 30 April. Sara Rutherford and Tracey Casstles, who judged the region, introduce the winners they are putting forward for consideration by the national panel.
Local Food Champion
Eat Wild Limited, 8 Durncourt, Ampney Crucis, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 5SE. Tel: 01285 850033, Website: www.eat-wild.co.uk Email: [email protected] Twitter: @Eat_Wild
Sara says: “The enthusiasm and passion of this brother duo for their business and even more so for game itself is fantastic. They are relatively new but already making a big impression, for all the right reasons, in the industry. William said his goal is to be ‘the name everyone thinks of when they talk about game’ and they are going to let nothing hold them back from realising that!”
The boys have also set up a restaurant, which can be found at 4 Castle Street, Cirencester. Click here for the Facebook page to find out more.
Chadbury Farm Shop, Chadbury, Evesham, Worcestershire, WR11 4TD. Tel: 01386 446705, Website: http://chadburyfarmshop.co.uk/ Email: [email protected], Twitter @ChadburyFarmSho
Tracey says: “I was struck by their commitment to ensuring that their stock, including wines and beers, are from a local supplier or at the very least British. It’s not easy to offer the general public the range they demand and stay true to their farm shop roots but Karen and Mark have done precisely that without compromising the quality of their range. Their fabulous layout and immaculate presentation make the shopping experience so much more enjoyable. They have plans to extend and include a café and I look forward to seeing how that progresses.”
Village Shop / PO Champion
Ye Olde Steppes, Pembridge Village Shop and Tea Room, High Street, Pembridge, Leominster, Herefordshire R6 9DS. Tel: 01544388506, Website: www.yeoldesteppes.co.uk
Email: [email protected]
Sara says: “This is a happy example of in-comers injecting some new ideas, energy and vigour to a village shop that had been lost. The community spirit, friendship and willingness to go the extra mile for each other is extremely engaging. The purpose of a village shop is to provide a heart and soul and Ye Olde Steppes does this with a smile and a slice of home-made cake.”
Robin Maycock Village Butchers, Lea Shaw Road, Holloway, Matlock, DE4 5AT. Tel: 01629 534333, Website: www.robinmaycockbutchers.co.uk/ Email: [email protected] Twitter @RobinMaycock
Tracey says: “Maycock’s has really fought to keep the abattoir open on the site as the manner in which the animals are dispatched is of such importance to the business. They sell a great variety of meats and a good range of game, as well as pies, pasties and other goods baked on site. The fame of this shop is such that people happily drive for an hour to stock up there.”
Joint Champion: The Instant Karma Brewery, 4 John Street, Clay Cross, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S45 9NQ. Tel: 07971 184849, Website: www.instantkarmabrewery.co.uk. Email: [email protected]
Tracey says: “A burnt-out building in Clay Cross might not be the first place you’d think of when choosing the ideal venue for a micro-brewery and pub but Instant Karma shows how wrong you’d be. The brewery looks great, has a fabulous atmosphere - it was heaving on the Tuesday night when I went along - and the beer is delicious! They offer up to 24 guest beers and do exchanges with other breweries so they always have something unusual. It was a really lovely surprise!”
Joint Champion: Lechlade Festival Ltd, The Mullions, Thames Street, Lechlade Gloucestershire, GL7 3AG. Tel:01367 700350, Website: http://lechladefestival.co.uk/ Email: [email protected] Twitter: @LechladeFest
Sara says: “Lechlade is one of the lesser known parts of the Cotswolds and often loses out to its ‘honey-pot’ neighbours. The music festival was launched in 2011 and has put the town firmly on the map as well as becoming a popular and fun family-orientated event, attracting people from across the UK. It has increased awareness of the town and helped to boost the local economy. It has tremendous support from the local community who volunteer as stewards, help with car-parking, organising bands, cooking bangers and mash for the crew and even rescuing an injured swan on one occasion.”
Biblio’s, Harbury Library, High Street, Harbury, Warwickshire, CV33 9HW. Tel: 01926 258776, Website: www.harburyvillagelibrary.org.uk/news Email: [email protected]
Sara says: “Biblio’s has a wonderful community feel. This café, boasting amazing homemade cakes and biscuits, has saved the village library, allowing it to be open for 42 hours a week - manned by a team of volunteers, and become a real hub for the community. It is a real example of community spirit in action.”