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  • Judith Storr

Village Pride at Runners Up Award

Detling Community Store announced runner up in the Best Rural Start Up Business category.

28th February 2021

At the Rural Business Awards National Final last week, held online for the first time due to lockdown, Detling Community Store was announced the runner up in the Best Rural Start Up Business category. Flintshire based family run business Accessibility Holiday Escapes was announced the winner.

Founded by rural-based business women, Jemma Clifford and Anna Price, the Rural Business Awards are backed by Amazon and judged by an independent panel, drawn from the rural business sector, rural public sector agencies, and rural charitable organisations.

And so it was last week that a group of nervous supporters huddled together online to listen to Jules Hudson, the BBC Escape to the Country presenter announce the results. Our award category was first up so we didn’t have long to wait.

“Runner Up in the Best Rural Start Up category - Detling Community Store”

The initial rather muted response suggested an air of slight disappointment but this soon turned to pride when we reacted together to actually reflect on what we had achieved.

Richard Finn, Chair, Detling Community Interest Company said:

We are delighted to have been recognised at the National Rural Business Awards. We are a volunteer run store with a mission to put the community at the heart of everything we do. We are thrilled that the judges have seen something special in our business so early in our journey. We are excited to see what the next few years bring!

We may not have won, but being announced as the second best rural start up business in the country is a fantastic achievement and a testament to the hard work of all our volunteers and financial support from the Princes Countryside Trust, KCC Leader, the Kent Community Foundation, Detling Parish Council and donations from many village residents and local businesses.

Even more remarkable is that we have achieved this award in the most difficult of years. Despite everything, the store flourished, supported by the community who came together to provide food and support to the most vulnerable.

This did not go unnoticed by the judges:

Jemma Clifford, Director and Co-Founder of The Rural Business Awards, said:

The last year has been tough for all rural businesses, but we remain amazed at the high calibre of entries to the RBAs and this has certainly continued in the 2020/21 year. The judges had a real challenge on their hands when picking the winners and every business shortlisted should be very proud of their achievement of reaching the National Final. Our winners have all shown great determination and have bright futures ahead - on behalf of everyone at the Rural Business Awards we congratulate them all.

The awards aim to recognise and celebrate the successes of businesses operating in the UK’s rural economy; a sector which in England alone contributes £261bn to the nation’s GVA (Gross Value Added) – nearly a fifth of the country’s total economic activity[1].

John Boumphrey, UK Country Manager, Amazon said:

It’s an honour to support the Rural Business Awards’ efforts to showcase the incredible talent of British rural business. On behalf of Amazon, I would like to congratulate Detling Community Store on this achievement, and I wish them further success in the future.

We would never have imagined when we started this journey four years ago that we would be a national finalist and runner up in our first year of trading. We'll go on to enter more awards - and we'll make sure we win next time!

[1] House of Lords library note, Rural Economy and UK Agriculture: Issues for the New Parliament (January, 2020)

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