On the evening of Saturday 5 March, Wrag Barn Golf Club in Highworth was buzzing with excitement as people started arriving for the 2022 Fairford & Lechlade Business Club Awards Celebration. After a successful (but very different) Virtual Awards in 2021 everyone had clearly gone to great efforts to make sure the evening was a success, from the Steering Group of the Business Club to the attendees.
After a delicious meal the main business of the evening got underway, with Richard Martin of Cotswold Woollen Weavers doing a fantastic job as Master of Ceremonies, and Helen Webb as Chair of the Business Club announcing the award winners.
The winners were sent a brief questionnaire to assist with the compilation of this article and here are their replies.
Winner of the Most Innovative Business of the Year 2022
The Health Box in Lechlade was presented with their award by McGills Chartered Accountants, sponsors of this award. The Health Box is a fairly new business: having worked incredibly hard since starting the business in December 2018, Lola and partner Kasza were amazed and delighted to receive their award in recognition of their efforts over the past three years. As Lola put it, on hearing their name announced the first reaction was surprise – as there are so many small businesses locally, all deserving of an award.
One of the main benefits of winning the award is that the business is now an award-winning business – a useful marketing tool – and connecting with other local businesses. Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on many businesses but fortunately “we made it through with minimal losses. In contrast, we have gained new local suppliers we might not have connected with otherwise. Many people shopped locally which worked in our favour. We have made the best out of a devastating situation and now look to the future. The pandemic and the uncertainty of retail has led us to develop our website and we will shortly be launching our new web shop.”
Come and see us in Lechlade Market Square.
Winner of Business Person of the Year 2022
Andrew Pywell, Managing Director of Plan-A Planning and Development Ltd, was presented with his award by T A Reed (Wiltshire) Ltd, the sponsor of the award. Andrew was delighted but somewhat taken aback in being judged by his peers to have ‘made the grade’ as business person of the year!
"I was not aware that I had been put forward for the award by the team until the last minute and so got quite emotional when I learnt of all the kind things people had said about me. From my perspective, my business has never been about me – I see and treat every member of the team as an equal but do my best to lead by example and demonstrate just what can be achieved in meeting our clients’ needs and objectives by maintaining a positive attitude and taking to heart the trust that clients put in us in handling their projects."
Andrew has been a member of the Fairford & Lechlade Business Club for about 12 years, and in fact won the award for business of the year in 2017. In terms of the main benefits of entering the awards, Andrew says “On a personal level, it gives me some assurance that I must be doing something right! Other than that, we have been able to use it to help raise the profile of the business on our social media platforms and it will also really help to provide further reassurance to new clients that they are dealing with a quality business. I have no doubt that it will provide a further boost to our marketing efforts and the ongoing success of the business.”
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, Andrew says “I am incredibly fortunate in that, for me, the pandemic brought no fundamental changes to my working life. After an initial brief shock, the property sector has performed very strongly, and this has kept me working throughout. I have also remained office based whilst enabling the rest of the team to have the option of working from home when necessary.”
Winner of New Business of the Year 2022
The winner of the award for the New Business of the Year 2022 was the Conditioning Club in Fairford. This award was sponsored and presented by Dent Artwork. The Conditioning Club is a newly established members’ gym based on Horcott industrial estate in Fairford, offering monthly and annual memberships to local people based in and around the Fairford/Cotswold area.
Members of the gym benefit from full use of brand new top of the range equipment as well as a free induction when they sign up. During Covid the gym operated on-line fitness sessions but now local people can take full advantage of the facilities available on their doorstep.
Winner of Business of the Year 2022
Last but by no means least we come to the winner of Business of the Year 2022, Wrag Barn Gold Club on the outskirts of Highworth, our hosts for the awards, this award being sponsored by Cotswold Woollen Weavers.
Tracey Lee, general manager, commented that the hard-working team at Wrag Barn is something they are very proud of and that it was a complete surprise to hear their name called as the winner as they had no idea they had been entered in the Awards.
Wrag Barn had entered the awards in previous years but this year all could see that one of the main benefits of the awards was, “It is fantastic to see all the efforts of local businesses being recognised especially as the last few years have been challenging for us all. Since Covid-19 started the team at Wrag Barn is smaller due to changes that were needed in order to make the business more viable. The team are now very close and work hard together and all display signs of excellent support to each other.
What advice would you give people who are thinking of entering the awards next year?
We end this article with an overview of answers in terms of the advice the winners would give to those thinking of entering the awards next year:
- Be honest and don’t be shy to show off your own success. Be proud of what you have achieved and no matter if you win or not, filling in the application and writing about your own achievements is reaffirming and therapeutic.
- Don’t hesitate and just go for it! What many might not appreciate, is that, even if you don’t end up winning, the process of writing the awards entry will help your business enormously. It helps to remind you why it is you do what you do, reflect on what you do well and those things that you might do better – stuff we are often too busy to take the time to think enough about! It also ensures that you ask your peers, customers or clients for feedback which is so very valuable.
- Definitely enter, it’s a great, uplifting experience.