A business in Copeland has been announced as a regional winner in the Countryside Alliance Awards.
‘The Gather’, a community-owned and run café and shop in Ennerdale Bridge, West Cumbria was crowned regional winner in the Rural Enterprise category.
The Awards, nicknamed the ‘Rural Oscars’, are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of British food & farming, enterprise and heritage through our small hard-working businesses. The awards are now in their fifteenth year and have become the definitive rural business award to win. 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.
This has been a record Awards as we received over 18,000 nominations, showing just how much the public values and supports our hard-working rural businessmen and women. The regional finalists have done exceptional well to come this far as the competition was incredibly high this year.
Trudy said: "A huge congratulations to the team at The Gather in Ennerdale Bridge for securing this award and regional title. The Countryside Alliance awards are a great way of recognising local businesses that go the extra mile for their community and it’s clear from the rigorous judging process that The Gather has well and truly earned its title.”
Due to Covid-19 and subsequent lockdown restrictions, the judging for the 2020 Awards was sadly postponed but we judged virtually in the spring of 2021, with businesses showcasing their talent and telling their story over webcam instead.
The categories for the Awards include: best butcher, best pub, best village shop, local food champions, and rural enterprise champions.
Notes from the deciding judge described the Crafty Baa pub, which is situated on Victoria Street in Windermere, as: “"Brimming with a wide variety of craft beers and drink, this pub offers its customers a friendly smile to complement its quirky atmosphere."
In describing ‘The Gather’, the judge noted: “The Gather provides a welcoming meeting place for locals and visitors alike. With over 50 volunteers manning the shop, cafe and events space, there are plenty of chances to engage and enjoy the community they are part of.”
Countryside Alliance Awards Director Sarah Lee commented: “This year’s regional finalists are all truly exceptional. We have been overwhelmed by nominations this year. The secret to the Rural Oscars’ popularity is that they honour the people involved in these businesses and not just their produce or services.
"They exist to sing the praises of those who work hard to keep our communities and rural economy ticking, but don’t seek the spotlight. These awards provide a cause for celebration in a time of great uncertainty in the countryside. Our local produce is second to none and there are many community heroes and businesses worthy of national recognition.”