The FLBC Business Awards 2021
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It wasn’t our normal awards evening however we felt it we still needed to celebrate those businesses that have managed to survive and thrive in these times. In my day job as Head of Marketing at the Air Tattoo I can totally empathise with how difficult it has been for some organisations this year and for some it has been devastating both personally and from a business perspective. However, it has also given people time to think, review and evolve and the judges agreed that the award entries were outstanding and a fantastic representation of what can be achieved in our small corner of the Cotswolds; spanning Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire.
You may have noticed that we looked a bit different as Allison Murray, the winner of the Business Person of the Year in 2020, kindly offered to look at our branding. We’ll explain more about this process at the AGM in April but a huge thank you to Allison for this as she did this as a volunteer.
On the matter of volunteers, a huge thank you to my steering group, particularly Shirley from Cotswold Boat Hire who is the Vice Chair. All our steering group are volunteers so this has been a labour of love, to make sure we put on a professional event, worthy of our members and the finalist and winners tonight. Thank you to all those that entered the awards and voted for the Hospitality Awards and to those that joined me on the judging panel. Congratulations to all our finalists and winners!
Chair - FLBC
Business of the Year
Business of the Year is the premier award open to any business that can demonstrate a successful track record of excellence and achievement. This year we had some very strong entries for this award, and all were outstanding businesses, but, there was only one winner. The Finalists were:
The Paperback Shop
The judges were delighted to award the accolade of Business of the Year to Bulldog Websites who had been finalists for a number of years. They offer an excellent service to build and maintain websites, manage social media and give general advice on all things digital in a professional but friendly manner. Their business has gone from strength to strength over the past few years and has progressed further during recent time, providing businesses options to evolve their digital offering. The judges thought that they were worthy winners and shows that perseverance pays dividends! Congratulations Bulldog Websites, the Fairford & Lechlade Business Club Business of the Year.
THE WINNER: Bulldog Websites
Business Person of the Year
This award is about celebrating personal business acumen which should be recognised and encouraged, highlighting the skills and ability of a business owner or employee. The Finalists were:
Lizzie Skinner - Beanology C.I.C
Penelope Warren - The Trout Inn
Aggy Dadan - edible by Aggy
The judges were impressed with the positive impact one person could have on other people's lives. The idea was born in 2006 as a pre-school music and movement group, with aims to reduce isolation and increase mental health support, joy and happiness. Since COVID this has developed with the company name changed to Beanology and Lizzie started delivering her courses on online as well as 1-1 workshops. The number of testimonials about how the courses and interaction have helped so many with their well being and mental health cannot be ignored, so, well done Lizzie for bringing light into people's lives.
THE WINNER: Lizzie Skinner - Beanology C.I.C
Most Innovative Business of the Year
All businesses are innovative in some way, so entrants had to illustrate how they have managed successfully to introduce new ideas, products, customers, techniques or technology to help grow their business. This category was so relevant for this year as so many businesses have had to innovate to survive. The judges were impressed by all the businesses in this category and what they had achieved and the Finalists were:
Lechlade Craft Barn
Jen Winnett Art
The judges were astounded by the energy and passion Jen had for her business as well as it being a very unique brand she has termed ‘eco art’ with the products her very own colourful animal portraits with an eco-twist in terms of paper, packaging, clothing. The were impressed with the diversification during lockdown and use of social media to raise the profile of her fledging business. The were heartened by the recent launch of free online art lessons for children, using art to help them as it had helped her.
THE WINNER: Jen Winnett Art
New Business of the Year
This category is open to all new ventures started within the last 2 years with those entering showing how their business has progressed from an idea to a trading business. The judges commented that the fact that they had survived the past year was an amazing achievement as it is difficult enough to start a new business let alone in the current environment. The Finalists were:
Leanne’s Pet Care
Lechlade Marina Ltd
Iris & Wilf
The judges commended Ian and Jules at how quickly they had restored the Lechlade Marina that had fallen into such disrepair over the past few years. The neglect has been all but wiped away and it is now a lovely part of the Thames with a waiting list for moorings. Not only have they bought about a positive change to the Marina and with it the surrounded area but have immersed themselves in the local community, joining the steering group for the business club, the River user Group for the Upper Thames as well as sitting on the Lechlade Town Council. The judges had a huge amount of respect for what has been achieved as a new business in just the last two years.
THE WINNER: Lechlade Marina
Most Outstanding Business Student of the Year Award
Each year we work with Farmor’s School to find the Most Outstanding Business Student. As part of the Business Studies curriculum the students put together a plan for a business idea they have had. The school then shortlists 6 of the best plans. The judges were extremely impressed by all six entries from the students however they were able to narrow it down to three Business Plans that particularly stood out with a design for a new Charcoal Air Purifier and creating fake plant garlands and flowers using recycled waste plastic:
Charlotte Jaques – Amet Plants
James Cobbing – JC Charcoal - Air Purifier
Rosie Baker – Love the Lentil Things
The winning entry from Rosie and her business called Love the lentil things, a vegan/vegetarian fast food stall that located in the grounds of Cirencester park. Her aim was to try and educate people on the importance of eating clean good food and had realistic cost and profit projections as well as concentrating on customer satisfaction.
THE WINNER: Rosie Baker – Love the Lentil Things
Howard Dowler Award
This award is in memory of Howard Dowler, one of the founding members of the Business Club, this is a special Award made by Helen Webb as the Chair of the Business Club to the person or business that has made an outstanding contribution to the local community.
She didn’t have to think for long about this as this person and their team has done everything they could to keep the hospitality spirit alive in the local community during lockdown and when they could open, put in place an impressive COVID safe environment for their customers.
THE WINNER: Penny Warren - The Trout Inn, Lechlade
Bob Warren Hospitality Award
This Award was introduced in memory of Bob Warren, former landlord of the Trout Inn, Lechlade, and long-time supporter and one of the founder members of FLBC.
Friends, family, customers and local residents were asked to vote for the hospitality venue (café, pub, restaurant, B&B or hotel etc.) that best demonstrated the spirit of Bob Warren – offering great hospitality, excellent customer service, a warm and friendly atmosphere and provided a fantastic all round experience. There were 33 venues up for this award and the 6 that had the most votes were finalists:
7A Coffee Shop
Buscot Tea Rooms
Kushi Indian Dining
Lynwood & Co
The Coffee Post
Congratulations to Maxine, Georgia and the team, not only have you kept us going with delicious cakes during these times you have also kept the post office open, such an important amenity.
THE WINNER: The Coffee Post
SPECIAL AWARD FOR 2021
Service to the Community
The judges felt that we needed to recognise another business and team in the local area that similar to post office was essential to the local area and carried on and became even busier than usual, despite the obviously difficulties of operating in a COVID safe way.