Helping it Happen Awards celebrates the best of rural Scotland

Press Release

Last night saw more than 200 business owners and industry leaders from across the rural sector join together at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh for an inspiring evening celebrating rural success at the second annual Helping It Happen Awards. The sell-out event, hosted by member organisation Scottish Land & Estates and sponsored by The MacRobert Trust, shone a light on the passionate work carried out by farms, estates and land-based businesses to help their local communities thrive. 

The Awards were created in 2017 by Scottish Land & Estates with the purpose of recognising the contribution of farm, estate and land-based businesses to their local communities, and the wider social, environmental and economic benefits to Scotland as a whole. 

The event was compered by George McNeill, one of Scotland’s finest sprinters, and attendees at the dinner also played their part by raising money for charity partners RSABI and My Name’5 Doddie Foundation. 
Winners were announced across nine diverse categories, outlining the important role rural businesses play throughout Scotland. Ahead of the Awards ceremony, a shortlist of three finalists for each category had been announced, and the winners were revealed and presented with beautiful, hand-made glass sculptures at the gala evening.

Scottish Land & Estates Executive Director, Sarah-Jane Laing, congratulated all the winners, finalists and entrants and commented: 

“We are absolutely thrilled with the volume and calibre of entries submitted for the Helping It Happen Awards this year. To have such strong support and endorsement for the campaign in its second year is inspiring. 

“The 2018 winners have demonstrated that the rural sector is thriving with passionate, innovative forward-looking rural businesses who are providing economic, social and environmental benefits to the countryside. Their contribution to the Scottish economy and the benefits they provide to local communities are obvious, and we are proud to recognise them at our Awards.” 

The 2018 Winner of the Rural Business Award, Graham Bichan of Orkney Ice Cream commented: 

“This is our first year being nominated in the Helping It Happen Awards and we are absolutely delighted with our win. Our small family business has grown and diversified over many decades and we are constantly working to modernise and develop every facet to keep up with trends and industry demand, as well as keeping an eye on the future and how we can best serve our customers, the community and the environment through our production methods and business model. This recognition of our progressive approach and our achievements to date means a lot and we will continue to wholeheartedly support Helping It Happen and its work to champion rural businesses throughout Scotland.” 

Helping It Happen will open for nominations for its 2019 National Awards in the spring.

The categories and 2018 winners are: 

Tourism Award, sponsored by Gift of Grouse: Dunvegan Castle and Gardens, Isle of Skye, for restoration and development work. 

Rural Business Award, sponsored by Turcan Connell: Orkney Ice Cream, Kirkwall, for continued development of all aspects of the business. 

Rural Housing Award, sponsored by Clarendon: Annandale Estates, Lockerbie, for Raehills Farm housing development. 

Education Award, sponsored by Lycetts: Hirsel Estate, Coldstream, for their field to fork schools project. 

The MacRobert Trust Award for Working with Communities: Angus Glens and Grampian Moorland Groups for their Game for Giving initiative. 

Conservation Award, sponsored by Anderson Strathern: Drimnin Estate for their diverse conservation schemes. 

The Iver Salvesen Green Business Award: Stracathro Estates, Laurencekirk, for commitment to renewable energy schemes. 

Innovation in Farming Award, sponsored by Douglas Home & Co: Mossgiel Farm Organic Dairy, Mauchline, for continued innovation of sustainable, organic practices. 

Enhancing our Environment Award, sponsored by Bell Ingram: Philiphaugh Estate & Tweed Forum, Selkirk, for peatland restoration work.