A couple who run a farm at Somerby said they were ‘shocked and delighted’ to win a prestigious award which recognises business excellence in rural areas.
Jane and Mark Barnes, who run Farmer Barnes’ Dairy, scooped the Rural Business Award at the 2019 Leicestershire and Rutland Rural Awards.
The dairy has invested in a brand new five-acre farming unit, including a unique ‘Cow Classroom’ and viewing platform overlooking the milking parlour where people are invited in to find out about dairy farming and modern milk production.
After the couple were presented with the award at a ceremony in Leicester by Linzie Maycock, from NFU Mutual Market Harborough, Jane said: “We were both shocked and delighted at the same time, for Farmer Barnes’ Dairy to be honoured with the RCC Business Award for 2019.
“For a new venue to be recognised in its infancy, gives us great confidence and pride in what we are trying to do, and this award means a great deal to us and for our future.”
There was also plenty to celebrate at the event for Lyndsey Young, founder of the Friendly Bench at Bottesford, after she was given the Outstanding Impact Award.
The project, which recently received grant funding to be rolled out across other areas of the UK, tackles social isolation in rural areas by giving people a safe and relaxing place to meet and chat.
After being presented with her award by Jennifer, Lady Gretton, who is president of the Rural Community Council (RCC), which organises the awards, Lyndsey said: “We are thrilled and honoured to win RCC’s Outstanding Impact award and it is wonderful to have our work recognised.
“This award has helped stimulate further interest in The Friendly Bench™ and our work to build more connected, resilient communities and help tackle loneliness and social isolation.”
More than 160 dignitaries and VIP guests attended the presentation event, with seven deserved winners being revealed after judges had whittled down nominations from across the whole of both counties to a shortlist of 24 worthy finalists.
Other awards presented on the night included an Unsung Hero Award to Joyce Bird, of Ketton; Best Community Facility to Markfield Community Centre and Community Park; a Rural Service Award to Woodhouse and Woodhouse Eaves Good Neighbour Scheme; a Community Engagement Award to Hathern Together; and Best Community Library to Measham and District Community Library.
Sam Howlett, RCC executive director, said: “We are really excited to now launch our 2020 Awards, which will be held on October 8 next year, and I would like to encourage as many people as possible to nominate the people, places, businesses and groups that they value most across rural Leicestershire and Rutland.”
Held annually for the past three years the Leicestershire and Rutland Rural Awards aim to raise awareness of the issues faced by rural communities and recognise the work of people, groups and businesses taking action to tackle these issues and improve life for those living and working in rural areas of Leicestershire and Rutland.