An e-commerce business set up during the pandemic has been named Best Rural Retail Business in the Midlands heats of the Rural Business Awards.
Hereford-based Local e Sourced works with local suppliers to deliver food and drink, gifts, clothing and homeware to its customers – and has thrived during lockdown.
The business – founded by Hamish Light in 2020 – was also a runner-up in the The Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award category.
Gloucestershire-based Rural events specialist Jimmy Birchmore Events – which faced a 99 percent reduction in business as the events industry closed during lockdowns – has won the Best Rural Diversification Project category.
Established in 2009, Jimmy Birchmore Events offers a fully integrated and complete event service, specialising in agriculture, environment, food chain and land-based sectors.
The winner of the Best Rural Food or Drink Business category was Worcestershire-based family-run wine producer Astley Vineyard, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.
Planted in 1971, Astley Vineyard is one of the oldest vineyards in the UK, located in the Severn valley 10 miles from Worcester.
And Herefordshire-based craft cider maker Celtic Marches – one of the UK’s largest self-sustaining single estate cider producers – was a runner-up in the same category.
The 200 acre orchard produces three million litres of cider per year, and exports to 14 countries.
Warwick-based private medical practice Concierge Medical was a runner-up in the Best Rural Professional Services Business category.
Founded in 2013, Concierge Medical offers a private GP service without ” rushed and pressured appointments of a traditional surgery.”
And digital marketing agency DM Lab in Hereford was a runner-up in the Best Rural Small Business category.
Established in 2010, The Digital Marketing Laboratory offers a broad range of services from web design to public relations and content marketing to CRM and journalism and Google Ads.
Bromsgrove-based charity Dodford Children’s Farm, which offers breaks for children from underprivileged backgrounds, was a runner-up in the Best Rural Social Enterprise, Charity or Community Project category.
The charity has been providing children with a countryside experience since 1950.
Farm Stay countryside escapes, which is based at the National Agriculture Centre in Warwickshire, was a runner-up in the Best Rural Tourism Business category.
Farm Stay UK is the market leader in working farm holidays and rural getaways.
Established to promote farm and agri tourism industry with self catering holiday cottages, B&Bs and glamping sites across the UK, the not-for-profit has had a busy year as British holiday makers were forced or chose to vacation in the UK.
The winners will now represent the Midlands region in the national finals in February 2022.
The Rural Business Awards were established in late 2014 by Jemma Clifford and Anna Price – two business owners who work in rural Leicestershire. The first awards were presented in October 2015.
The awards aim to give recognition to businesses operating right across the rural sector, to acknowledge the breadth and depth of opportunity presented by the Great British countryside, as well as to celebrate the achievements of the UK’s rural businesses, from engineering through to artisan food producers and professional services organisations.