The Helping it Happen Awards, organised by Scottish Land and Estates, aim to highlight the accomplishments of forward-facing business who, despite these challenging times, are making a real impact, especially in Scotland’s rural sector. Whether this is by providing affordable rural housing; working with schools to support and develop learning; creating sustainable employment opportunities; or, showcasing our wonderful countryside, heritage and culture; we joined together, virtually, on Wednesday evening to celebrate the difference these businesses are making in our communities.
At GLM we are proud to have the opportunity again this year to support this celebration of success. During the past 12 months we’ve witnessed the adaptability, capability and patience of businesses and individuals across rural Scotland. These awards provide a wonderful platform to celebrate this resilience and to inspire others to visit and support and to encourage more of the activity needed to help our rural economy recover and thrive.
At GLM we seek to play our part in this too. We strive to have a positive impact on people’s lives through enhancing the built environment around us. We bring sharp insight, imaginative design and effective implementation, underpinned by broad ranging experiences, to the creation, re-use, adaptation, maintenance and retrofit of buildings and we take great inspiration and energy from those of you who have put yourselves forward for recognition tonight.
With nearly 30 years of working on some of this country’s most recognisable heritage buildings and rural estates and with many private individuals and businesses, Ian McKee, GLM’s Managing Director, found it hugely inspiring to sit with fellow judges and bear witness to the positive impact many are having across Scotland. And just as he did after last year’s awards, he has a long list of places to visit to see first-hand the fantastic work being done.
Recognising success hasn’t been the top priority for many people in 2021…more like: heads down getting on with the job, keeping a wary eye out for the next bump in the road so it was a pleasure to acknowledge your hard work, determination and success and to raise a glass to all of you who applied for these awards.
Huge congratulations to all those who won across the 10 award categories, this year. The full list of winners is below. Team GLM were delighted to join the celebrations virtually and we look forward to raising a glass together with you all in 2022!
Sarah-Jane Laing, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “I want to offer my congratulations to all the winners. The independent judging panel had a really tough time deciding who should be crowned in each category. All the winners have made a considerable contribution in their own way to rural Scotland, and their environmental impact is always at the forefront of their minds.
“The Helping It Happen Awards quite rightly celebrate those farms, organisations and estates going the extra mile to make a positive contribution to their local community and wider Scotland whether that’s through climate action, providing jobs and training or building affordable housing. This contribution is crucial to ensure that Scotland has a successful green recovery from the Covid pandemic.”
The 2021 winners are:
Rural Business Award, sponsored by Shepherd + Wedderburn
Jas P Wilson, Dalbeattie, Dumfries & Galloway
Jas P Wilson has developed into the UK’s leading national supplier of forestry equipment and machinery. They employ 85 staff and provide invaluable apprenticeship opportunities in engineering and administration for young people through their dedicated training centre. Their strong team of skilled designers, engineers, service and sales staff operate from an ever-expanding 20,000 square metre base in Dalbeattie, home to their workshops, design studios, offices and dedicated training centre. Working with Scottish Enterprise, they broke new ground in exports including in Scandinavian markets. They also streamlined their processes and thought more innovatively about business including implementing strategies to empower staff and ensure a succession plan is in place.
Tourism & Visitor Management Award, sponsored by GLM
Rothiemurchus Estate, near Aviemore
Situated at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, Rothiemurchus presents a unique blend of stunning landscapes, exciting outdoor activities, and locally sourced Scottish crafts and foods. Visitors may choose simply to walk or cycle around our carefully maintained paths, taking in the spectacular scenery. They can also take part in some of the many outdoor activities on offer; from clay shooting, fishing, quad bike trekking, pony hacking and off-road driving, to archery, wildlife watching and canoeing. Additionally, Rothiemurchus is home to self-catering properties to rent and enticing farm and gift shops brimming with Scottish crafts and locally sourced produce.
Education Award, sponsored by Bell Ingram
Ringlink Scotland Ltd, Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire
Ringlink Scotland is the UK’s largest business ring with a membership in excess of 2900. As a co-operative, the business is owned by its members and revolves around the supply and demand of goods and services between its members. Established in 1988 the Ring has seen significant growth progressing from a company focusing entirely on agriculture into a diverse business which now includes haulage, construction, and forestry together with a variety of other business activities. It is part of the Land-Based Pre-Apprenticeship Programme and has recently taken on 29 young trainees. Ringlink has shown that a pre-pandemic programme can be delivered during a pandemic. Over two years the pilot has included 80 young pre-apprentices with a further 60 participants planned for 2021.
Conservation Award category sponsored by Anderson Strathern
Rottal Estates, Kirriemuir, Angus
Rottal, owned and manged by Dee Ward, is an upland estate focussing everything they do on improving wildlife, biodiversity and habitats through restoring and re-naturalising rivers including the South Esk, burns, water margins, riparian planting, natural regeneration, native tree planting, wetland improvements, and flood mitigation and water quality improvements. The estate uses renewable energy (hydro & biomass) and also has sheep farming, holiday lets, events, shooting and stalking. Last year they restored 30 hectares of peatland as part of a scheme to restore 300 hectares over the next five years. This work is helping tackle the climate emergency as it will ensure carbon remains stored in the peatland and additional carbon is captured from the improved vegetation.
Business Resilience Award, sponsored by Barclays
Midton, Lochgilphead, Argyll
Midton Acrylics is a bespoke acrylic manufacturer based on the west coast of Scotland. Like many small businesses they had to adapt and diversify during covid 19 to survive. They developed a range of sheilds and PPE for the NHS and other businesses. Sustainability is important to the company and working on the basis of a scrappage scheme, they offer customers cashback on the material cost of all shields they produce. Midton Acrylics then recycle this material and reuse it in their manufacturing process. This diversification is very different from the high-end awards they produce for the likes of the Royal Television Society and Formula one! They had to adjust very quickly to a very changed market place.
Rural Housing Award, sponsored by Velux
Communities Housing Trust, near Aviemore
Communities Housing Trust is a registered charity working with communities to provide affordable housing and amenities in remote and rural places throughout central and northern Scotland. They take a collaborative, partnership approach which was demonstrated in the Old Sawmill project at Rothiemurchus Estate. It’s an excellent example of a win-win collaboration on estate land to secure affordable housing using self-build, within the Cairngorms National Park. The four affordable homes were individual self-build projects and hence differ slightly. One is a panel kit-home, with high wall insulation; some are timber frame, as fuel- and energy-efficient as possible, with triple glazing and air-source heat pumps. One has solar photo-voltaics, with more to follow suit, and EPCs on the homes range from B+ to A.
Hudson Hirsel, Coldstream, Scottish Borders
Hudson Hirsel was established by Douglas and Angus Estates in 2010 as an “in-house” development company to create a conservation style community on the outskirts of the Hirsel Estates in Coldstream. After ten years, this “startup” company has become an award-winning housebuilder with a multi-million-pound turnover. Hudson Hirsel employs as many organisations and individuals as possible from the Scottish Borders, thereby ensuring local employment and boosting the local economy. They also build affordable housing and have worked with the local council to deliver a bespoke approach. Hudson Hirsel won a Judges’ Special Award at the Helping it Happen Awards in 2020.
Innovation in Farming Award, sponsored by Douglas Home & Co
The Ethical Dairy, at Rainton Farm, Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway
The Ethical Dairy produces traditional cheeses and luxury ice-cream using organic milk from their herd. This milk is produced using the cow and calf method which involves keeping calves with their mothers to suckle and is based upon treating the animals, land, environment, and workers with respect and compassion. As the first commercial dairy farm in the UK to adopt this model a balance has been struck between ethical considerations and the operation of a financially viable farm. The approach has seen a marked improvement in the cows’ health and contentment. Whilst, also promoting a more sustainable grass-based farming system.
Iver Salvesen Award for Combatting Climate Change, sponsored by Murray Beith Murray
Balbeg Country Holidays, Balbeg Estate, Maybole, South Ayrshire
The business provides self-catering accommodation in five properties, having the ability of sleeping up to 46 guests. To combat climate change the Estate has installed a 27 kw hydro scheme which can power 22 homes, installed a 199kw woodchip biomass boiler to provide heat and hot water to seven residential properties on the Estate, and planted new woodland over 128 acres which is predicted to sequester 12,856 tonnes of CO2 equivalent over the next 55 years.
Enhancing our Environment through Land Management Award, sponsored by NatureScot
Pat Wilson Farms Lochrosque, Wester Ross, Highland
As custodians of the land with a responsibility towards enhancing and protecting the landscape, Lochrosque Estate pioneers land management diversity in Wester Ross. Through the extensive restoration of over 1000ha of degraded peatlands, a broad range of native woodland projects and a willingness to work alongside authoritative bodies to cap sheep densities and reduce deer numbers, Lochrosque Estate is focussed on tackling climate change and eliminating the threat of biodiversity loss. By harnessing the power of carbon finance, a sustainable business model is being developed, rooted in a diverse and wide reaching array of activities which help to enhance the environment. Pat Wilson Farms Lochrosque won a Helping it Happen Award in 2019 for creating green energy sources.
Working with Communities Award, sponsored by The MacRobert Trust
Scourie Community Development Company, Sutherland, Highland
Scourie Community Development aims to deliver sustainable projects and developments for the benefit of the local community and visitors and thus bring about regeneration. The group has built a sports pavilion used by shinty and football teams and for the summer gala. The local primary school uses it on a regular basis. Many paths in the extensive network have been upgraded as has the pier. Before Covid 19 the development of a new visitor attraction Scourie Rocks was a priority. However since March 2020 all effort has been diverted to ensure that everyone in the community has been supported through a Food Larder being set up in the village shop, providing access to mental health support and funding was sought to provide fuel, food, white goods indeed anything that a family would normally have been able to buy but could not due to their reduction in income. They have also provided seasonal treats, such as a three course Christmas lunch for all 78 pensioners and Easter and Christmas “goody” boxes for all the children.