First COVID Resilience award-winners announced

First COVID Resilience award-winners announced

THREE local businesses that rose to the challenges of the pandemic have been recognised with a new special award.

The first COVID-Resilience Leamington Business Awards, organised by Talk Business UK, were held as part of a virtual ceremony hosted by local DJ Kirsty Leahy from Noisegate Media Studio in Leamington on Friday night.

Talk Business UK, COVID-19, Resilience, C J's Events, Heartbreak Productions, Baabzi Indian Takeaway, Leamington Business Awards, Matt Western MP

As well as a special performance from dance circus theatre company Motionhouse, the event featured a motivational message to businesses from Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western, pictured right.

He said: “It is really unpredictable how the pandemic is playing out and I appreciate just how hard it is hitting our businesses. If businesses can’t be open then we must have the financial support for them to see them through this incredibly difficult time, particularly the hospitality sector.

“I really want to thank all the businesses which have taken this seriously and have spent so much money to get COVID-safe and adhere to Government guidelines at a time when the revenue hasn’t been coming in.

“Huge thanks on behalf of the whole community to all the local businesses whose response to the pandemic has been extraordinary and I was very proud to see just how quickly businesses galvanized. It is a real measure of our community what has taken place over these last few months.

“It is so important for all of us that these businesses are around next year and the year after. We depend on the prosperity of our businesses for the vitality and the jobs and so on but they are such a core part of what makes Leamington so unique.”

2020 Business Resilience Award: This award went to a business that has demonstrated determination and resilience throughout the pandemic and tackled challenges head-on.

WINNER: CJ’s Events, Warwick
Talk Business UK, COVID-19, Resilience, C J's Events, Heartbreak Productions, Baabzi Indian Takeaway, Leamington Business Awards

CJ Events directors Carol Young and Jamie WalkerWhen the national lockdown hit in March, family-run business CJ’s Events Warwickshire took the decision to close its markets but, over a period of two months, the company worked hard on plans to return safely in line with Government advice, investing heavily in COVID barriers, signage and hand sanitiser stations and implementing policies and procedures, with the support of Warwick District Council.

And in June, CJ’s Events Warwickshire and Warwick Market were adopted by Central Government as a case study for how to implement a market’s safe return.

Their markets also continued to operate in line with the Government advice during the second lockdown.

Director and COVID-19 Compliance Officer Jamie Walker said: “We are absolutely ecstatic to have won the Business Resilience Award, this year has been a very tough one, one which wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Warwick District Council, BID Leamington, our whole team, traders and customers.

“Our whole business turned upside down during the announcement of the first lockdown, with all our events being cancelled. We’re immensely proud of what we’ve achieved over the past nine months and our business has gone from strength to strength despite the times we’ve faced.

“Winning this award highlights the appreciation of our hard work and this has ended 2020 on a high for us, we can’t thank everyone enough.”

Judge Sarah Windrum, CEO Emerald Group and CWLEP Board member, said this of the winning entry: “For the judges, the company that shone through was one that acted quickly when faced with adversity and when their business as usual had been turned completely on its head. They helped us keep our town safe and open with new COVID measures and their proactive approach to training meant that we could have the first UK market to reopen after the initial lockdown.

“They worked with regional stakeholders, led by a young team and it’s really inspirational to see what they have done for us. They’re also keeping us in good Christmas cheer as we stay within the tier 3 restrictions.”

Business Pivot Award: This category was open to any business that could demonstrate how they have ‘pivoted’ their product or service during 2020..

WINNER: Heartbreak Productions, Leamington

CJ Events directors Carol Young and Jamie Walker
Peter Mimmack, Heartbreak Productions Artistic Director and Maddy Kerr, Executive Director pictured with Awards presenter Kirsty Leahy.

This outdoor theatre business of 30 years had to respond quickly to the realisation that their much-anticipated 2020 tour would not go ahead and so curated the following projects including sharing past performances for the small screen and launching a competition for young people to devise their own lockdown-themed story, some of which were adapted into short screenplays.

Emily Bennett, spokesperson for Heartbreak Productions, said: “Heartbreak is honoured to have received this award after one of our most challenging years to date. Every single finalist deserved to win and we are overwhelmed by the love and support we have received.

“We would be unable to continue to do what we love without the wonderful people behind us – thank you!”

Judge, Louise Richards of Motionhouse, said: “The theatre sector was truly decimated and everybody lost all of their work. Heartbreak Productions, which receives absolutely no regular funding, managed to turn on a pinhead.

“People underestimate the time and work that goes into the creations in the theatre world and to do all of that in such a short period of time and be so responsive and so opportunistic is the sign of a brilliant business.”

 Lockdown Hero Award: This award recognises the Leamington business that has gone ‘above and beyond’ during 2020. The business may have provided products to vulnerable groups free of charge, offered their services pro-bono to struggling local businesses or individuals, or spread positivity during challenging times.

WINNER: Baabzi Takeaway, Warwick

Talk Business UK, Heartbreak Productions, CJ's Events, Baabzi Takeaway, COVID-19 Resilience, Resilience, Leamington Business Awards
Baabzi owner Faruk Miah with his award

Baabzi have been actively involved in their local community throughout the year, including meal deliveries to Warwick and Birmingham Children’s Hospitals.

The team also supplied nutritious meals to Helping Hands charity as well as raising more than £10,000 for the NHS Charity through food nights, a charity bike ride and skydive.

At the same time the business found ways to fund and supply keyworkers with PPE.

Owner Faruk Miah said: “All the finalists have done amazing jobs and we are all winners in truth. Winning this tonight is much welcome recognition of the value of local businesses and their essential contributions to overall wellbeing.

“What we did, we did purely because it felt like the right thing to do and we are proud to be a part of the community spirit. Watch this space because we have only just begun.”

Judge, Roger Scott, Area Director South Midlands for Lloyds SME, said: “Baabzi did a fantastic job working with others in the community, supporting the NHS. And what we loved is that personal connection with the town of Leamington but also that they wanted to give something back and that really touched our hearts.”

The bespoke awards were specially designed by Warwickshire College students Spencer Bronckaerts and Kodie Wood.

Jonathan Smith, of Talk Business UK, said: ”What an amazing evening showing what 2020 has taught us that we can overcome the challenges of Tier 3 and lockdowns and host great events online to recognise and celebrate all the inspiring achievements of the individuals and businesses of the region.

“Seeing the responses from all the worthy winners in each of the categories was emotional as we could see what this recognition meant to them and that hosting these special ‘Resilience Awards’ was the right thing to do.”

Leamington Business COVID Resilience Awards, Jonathan Smith, Talk Business UK
Jonathan Smith of Talk Business UK

Nominations for the main Leamington Business Awards will open on January 21st 2021 when businesses have the opportunity to enter 12 categories: New Business of the Year; Business and Community Award; Customers Service Excellence Award; Young Person of the Year Award, Employer of the Year; South Warwickshire Achievement of the Year; Innovation of the Year; Outstanding Achievement of the Year; Independent Business of the Year; Property Business of the Year, Warwick District Charity of the Year and The People’s Choice Award.

A winner from all the categories will also be selected for the prestigious Judges’ Choice Award – Business of the Year.

Sponsors include HB&O, Lodders solicitors and The Box Factory but more are invited to get onboard by contacting Jonathan Smith at: leamingtonbusinessawards@gmail.com or jon@talkbusinessuk.co.uk

Further details about the awards categories and how to nominate are available at: www.leamingtonbusinessawards.co.uk

Leamington Business Awards 2019: Spotlight on Charity finalists Pt 4

Leamington Business Awards 2019: Spotlight on Charity finalists Pt 4

AS we count down towards the Leamington Business Awards ceremony tomorrow (Friday 15th), here we spotlight the last of four local charities that have been selected as finalists in the Warwick & District Charity of the Year category. . .

Leamington Business Awards Warwick District Charity of the Year finalist 4 –

The Ups of Downs

NEARLY 14 years ago one Leamington mum reached out to fellow parents of children with Down Syndrome in a bid to increase support and awareness locally.

Today, Nicola Enoch is the proud founder of a charity that works with more than 70 local families in and around Warwickshire and is the recipient of several awards.

The Ups of Downs was inspired by her son Tom, now 15, who attends North Leamington School. Nicola was determined that Downs children should not only be supported to achieve their potential, but celebrated in society.

Tom Enoch, Leamington Business Awards, The Ups of Downs
Tom Enoch

The charity runs weekly groups for members aged birth to teenage, providing sing, sign and phonics sessions as well as Early Development Groups for pre-schoolers and sports, drama, yoga and music clubs on Saturdays and regular specialist speech and language therapy. It also recently launched a new Youth Club for older members.

Training is offered to parents and teaching professionals addressing subjects such as sensory issues, behaviour, communication and puberty.

Nicola said: “I started The Ups of Downs as I appreciated the value in meeting with others in the same situation, to be able to share concerns, ask advice, share experiences and offer peer support.

“Our driving ethos is to empower parents to give their child with Down Syndrome every opportunity to develop, flourish and achieve, by providing each parent with the knowledge, confidence, ability and resources.

“The impact has been enormous for parents, the professionals who work with our children and young people and the children and young people themselves.”

The Ups of Downs, Leamington Business Awards

The Ups of Downs is one of four finalists in what is, this year, a new category for the Leamington Business Awards.

It is up against Leam Trash Friends (https://www.facebook.com/leamtrashfriends); Young People First (www.youngpeoplefirst.org.uk)and P3 (www.p3charity.org/services/warwickshire-floating-support) – charities which will also benefit from proceeds from the awards ceremony. It is being held on November 15th, at the newly renovated Royal Pump Rooms in Leamington and presided over by Master of Ceremonies Dave Sharpe.

The Ups of Downs, Leamington Business Awards
Nicola Enoch

Reacting to her charity becoming a finalist, Nicola said: “As a Leamington based charity we are really thrilled to have been selected as finalists in the Leamington Business Awards. It is wonderful recognition of all that we have been doing for the past 13 years promoting inclusion, empowering parents and professionals and ensuring our members are given every chance to thrive!”

For more information about the charity, visit: https://upsofdowns.co.uk To donate to the charity visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/finalCharityHomepage.action?charityId=1003679

Look out for all the news from the 2019 Leamington Business Awards next week!

Leamington Business Awards 2019: Spotlight on the Charity finalists Pt 2

Leamington Business Awards 2019: Spotlight on the Charity finalists Pt 2

AS we count down towards the Leamington Business Awards ceremony on November 15th, here we spotlight the second of four local charities that have been selected as finalists in the Warwick & District Charity of the Year category. . .

P3

AGAINST the backdrop of the rising epidemic in homelessness, there is a team of dedicated people working hard to offer a vital lifeline.

The P3 Warwickshire team forms part of a national charity, offering a diverse range of housing-related support for adults over 25.

Operating out of hubs in Leamington, Stratford, Rugby and Nuneaton, street outreach workers identify, and offer support to, people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness by engaging them with the relevant services.

P3, Leamington Business Awards, Leamington Business Forum

Nicholas Russell, Service Coordinator for Street Outreach in Warwickshire, said: “Every week we go out on a Friday at 5am and do welfare checks among the homeless community, seeing how they are and seeing what their support needs are and start that process of engaging them with that support.

“They often come with complex backgrounds such as mental health or substance abuse issues and it can at times be very challenging and we are faced with some difficult circumstances.”

P3 is named after the charity’s three core values – People, Potential and Possibilities, delivering services to improve the lives of socially excluded and vulnerable people. Launched three years ago, the Warwickshire branch of the charity is funded by the County Council.

P3, Leamington Business Awards, Leamington Business Forum, Nicholas Russell
Nicholas Russell

Nicholas added: “Our model of support offers a person-led approach to assist people who do not find it easy to engage with services to overcome significant personal challenges and lead more fulfilling lives. We build trust and rapport with people over time.

“Our model of support helps us identify people who are the most vulnerable and reach out to them; our mission is to demonstrate we do care about their welfare and our belief is that everyone should have somewhere safe to live.”

The charity is one of four finalists in what is, this year, a new category for the Leamington Business Awards.

It is up against Leam Trash Friends (https://www.facebook.com/leamtrashfriends); Young People First (www.youngpeoplefirst.org.uk) and The Ups of Downs (https://upsofdowns.co.uk) – charities which will also benefit from proceeds from the awards ceremony. It is being held on November 15th, at the newly renovated Royal Pump Rooms in Leamington and presided over by Master of Ceremonies Dave Sharpe.

Reacting to being named as a finalist, Nicholas said: “We are absolutely delighted to be recognised. The team work tirelessly to break the cycle of homelessness, delivering significant, positive change.”

Details of how to volunteer or make financial and clothing donations, can be found at: www.p3charity.org/support-us/support-us or at any of their hubs across the county.

A winner will also go on to be selected from across all the awards categories for the prestigious Judge’s Choice Award – Business of the Year.

Nominations for The People’s Choice Award, sponsored by The Leamington Courier, are still invited until November 1st. Visit: www.leamingtonbusinessawards.co.uk/enter-a-business

Read all about Leam Trash Friends here

Leamington Business Awards 2019: Spotlight on the charity finalists: Pt 1

Leamington Business Awards 2019: Spotlight on the charity finalists: Pt 1

AS we count down towards the Leamington Business Awards ceremony on November 15th, here we spotlight the first of four local charities that have been selected as finalists in the Warwick & District Charity of the Year category. . .

Leam Trash Friends

It has been just under a year since Leam Trash Friends was established by 27-year-old Matt Langsford.

In that time the Leamington-based charity, which works to remove litter, excess overgrowth and tackle fly-tipping in the community, has seen its volunteer ranks grow to more than 100 people, aged between seven and 83 years old.

Leam Trash Friends, Leamington Business Awards, Leamington Business Forum

The team runs fortnightly street clearance activities and has also won praise for its weekly ‘needle patrol,’ ridding the streets of more than 700 discarded drugs needles every month.

Matt said: “I started Leam Trash Friends after realising that the problem of street litter across the area is widespread and the response from the authorities was somewhat disappointing.

“It became obvious early on that the only way to change the situation was to go out and do the job myself. Quickly, through our social media channels more and more people and organisations have come forward to join our collections or support us with The Co-op on Clemens Street being one of our most significant continuing corporate supporters to date. I am simply overwhelmed – and continue to be – by the generosity from the local community in supporting our cause and works.

Leam Trash Friends, Leamington Business Awards, Leamington Business Forum
Founder, Matt Langsford.

He added: “Knowing how many people have been protected by the thousands of used drug needles we have removed and the copious tonnes of street litter collected protecting wildlife makes all the challenges we face, such as grime and rather disgusting smells, worthwhile.

The charity is now planning to expand its patch to the Radford Semele, Cubbington and Stoneleigh areas, and is one of four finalists in what is, this year, a new category for the Leamington Business Awards.

It is up against P3 (www.p3charity.org/services/warwickshire-floating-support); Young People First (www.youngpeoplefirst.org.uk) and The Ups of Downs (https://upsofdowns.co.uk) – charities which will also benefit from proceeds from the awards ceremony. It is being held on November 15th, at the newly renovated Royal Pump Rooms in Leamington and presided over by Master of Ceremonies Dave Sharpe.

Reacting to being named as a finalist, Matt said: “Learning that we have been shortlisted as a finalist is truly amazing but we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the wonderful help and support of my volunteers, who deal with human faeces and other challenging situations regularly. But thanks also to the wider community who have donated or supported us along our journey so far – and we invite you to join us on our journey for 2020.”

Leam Trash Friends always welcomes donations which can be made, via Paypal, to: leamrubbishfriends@gmail.com or via: www.gofundme.com/f/street-clearance

Leam Trash Friends, Leamington Business Awards, Leamington Business Forum

A winner from all the awards categories will also go on to be selected for the prestigious Judge’s Choice Award – Business of the Year.

Nominations for The People’s Choice Award, sponsored by The Leamington Courier, are still invited until November 1st. Visit: www.leamingtonbusinessawards.co.uk/enter-a-business

The main media partner of the awards is Business & Innovation Magazine.