A Sleaford area teashop is one of three rurally based firms from Lincolnshire to have come away with honours at the Midlands regional heats of the UK-wide Rural Business Awards.
The companies were handed their awards at a glittering ceremony held at Eastwood Hall in Nottingham on Thursday, October 11.
Leadenham Teahouse came runner-up in the Outstanding rural diversification project category, while Witham Wines, of Grantham, came runner-up for Best Rural Start-up and Hall Farm Park, of South Kelsey, came runner-up for Best Rural Tourism Business.
The teahouse is run by sisters Kirsty Kershaw and Katie Mace in an effort to diversify and support the village post office, run by their mum.
Kirsty said they were just so proud to be in the final along the likes of big businesses like Belvoir Fruit Farms and Colston Basset Dairy.
She said: “It would have been amazing to win because we would have gone on to the national final, but it was good to come runner-up and meet other businesses that have gone on from small beginnings to greater things.”
Katie added: “We are so proud of everything we have achieved with the Teahouse, supporting other rural businesses and very quickly becoming a hub for the local community. Facing flash flooding this summer has been a real challenge, so this recognition feels extra special. We’d like to thank everyone for their continued support.”
Now in its fourth year, the Rural Business Awards is the only UK-wide programme dedicated to showcasing the success of rural businesses. It is run in partnership with Amazon.
“Rural communities are home to some of the country’s most inventive and innovative entrepreneurs and we want to celebrate their achievements and contribution through the Rural Business Awards,” said Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “I’d like to congratulate all the nominees and runners-up at this year’s regional awards.”
The Amazon Rural Business Awards is the brainchild of Leicestershire businesswomen Anna Price and Jemma Clifford, who wanted to showcase the wealth of entrepreneurial talent in rural areas of Britain – a sector of the economy they felt was all-too-often overlooked in favour of large, city-based firms.
The awards are organised by rural business for rural business, with winners in the 13 categories decided by an independent panel of judges drawn from the rural business sector, rural public sector agencies, and rural charitable organisations.
For the first time since launching, this year the Rural Business Awards is hosting a series of regional finals in the North, East, Midlands, South East, South West, Wales and Northern Ireland, throughout October 2018, ahead of the Grand Final next February.
The pair from Leadenham Teahouse are celebrating achieving a near-hat-trick, having won the Community Business Award at the North Kesteven Community Champions Awards on Wednesday and Tearoom of the Year at the Select Lincolnshire Awards on Tuesday - plus they will be attending two more award ceremonies next week!
The Select Lincolnshire Annual Awards is in association with the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce and celebrates Lincolnshire’s tradition of producing and serving quality food and drink.
The team behind the small rural teahouse pride themselves on the highest quality and finest local ingredients on their seasonal changing menus.
Katie said: “We support more than 30 small independent businesses and using quality, artisan products is really important to us. Leadenham Teahouse does not use large frozen food wholesalers, instead, we support three local bakeries who deliver freshly baked bread, cakes and patisserie daily. Our ethos is to bring the finest food and drink to the customer. I’m delighted that we have been recognised for this.”
The Tearoom of the Year award was presented by Category sponsor Stokes of Lincoln, one of Leadenham Teahouse’s main suppliers.
Leadenham Teahouse is striving to become a food destination to showcase fantastic quality produce to encourage rural tourism to the village.
The Red Lion at Digby was another winning local business, winning the Pub of the Year crown.