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Rural Achievement Awards

Celebrating the achievements of communities across Leicestershire and Rutland

We are extremely proud to organise and host the annual Leicestershire & Rutland Rural Achievement Awards.

The awards form part of our work to strengthen the voice of rural communities and to raise the profile of Leicestershire and Rutland as great place to live and work.

Our winners and finalists from the 2017 awards are listed below.

Best Community Building / Facility

An award made for the best community building or facility located in Leicestershire or Rutland that can demonstrate the usage and impact of the facility within their community in the 12 months prior to the end of July 2017.

Sponsored by...


We are Harborough Energy. We are a cooperative set up to provide affordable, clean energy to the communities of Market Harborough. Our local energy projects offer investment opportunities as well as returns for landowners and landlords.
We will help to give Harborough more control over its future energy costs and surety of supply, making it an even better place to live.


Measham Youth Centre, Measham

Based in the old Methodist church in Bosworth Road for the past six years, Measham Youth Centre has benefitted from £200,000 investment since the trustees bought the building. As well as being used by the thriving Youth Club which was founded in 1962, the building is home to six other community groups and two theatre companies, plus is a venue for concerts, plays and musicals.


Runners up...

Burbage Millennium Hall, Burbage

Burbage’s Millennium Hall is a busy community venue hosting a wide range of activities for an expanding village population. As well as a base for the Parish Council and for the Police to be available to villagers, its facilities are in demand daily for playgroups, musical activity, craft, exercise, sport and even dog training.

Waterloo Community Garden, Market Harborough

A space to grow fruit and vegetables on the outskirts of Market Harborough, Waterloo Community Garden was developed by a group of volunteers to demonstrate methods of gardening and varieties of produce. By collaborating to nurture the garden, participants enjoy working together and sharing what is produced. People can try fruit and vegetable growing without taking on the commitment of an allotment or the expense of growing at home.

Best Community Engagement

An award made to a charity or community group that can demonstrate excellent community engagement. Must be taking place in Leicestershire or Rutland and the impact of the work needs to be evident in the 12 months prior to the end of July 2017.

Sponsored by...


The family owned, Leicester based commercial refurbishment company, Smallman & Son Ltd, provides building and refurbishment services nationwide, specialising in the retail, leisure, charity, restaurant and bar industries as well as the public sector. They work with large and small organisations on all types of refurbishment projects, fit outs and extensions and have extensive experience on all types of refurbishments including undertaking listed building projects and working within conservation areas. The company has developed, over the years, a number of long-term relationships with their clients, and works collaboratively with them ensuring clear communication and excellent customer care is given throughout the duration of the project. They have built a reputation for quality, flexibility, reliability, as well as having an excellent track record for completing projects within agreed timescales and budgets. Smallman & Son have strong core beliefs and family values and their corporate social responsibility programme is very much an integral part of the company’s day to day business. The Smallman Foundation since its formation, several years ago, continues to support local deserving charities, particularly those that benefit children and young people within the community that they work.
Their team of professional builders and craftsmen can undertake all aspects of a building contract – from design to complete project management.
Contact: Alexandra Kowalczuk  | |  07595321831


ONE Kegworth, Kegworth

ONE Kegworth, the group of volunteers behind the village’s ONE Weekend, is taking on organising more events to bring the community together after the success of the first two weekends. From the inaugural ONE Weekend in 2016, the event grew to welcome more than 5,000 visitors last July. ONE Kegworth is now organising Christmas in the Marketplace and the Easter Charter Market with more and more volunteers.


Runners up...

Sustainable Harborough Partnership, Market Harborough

In the past year alone, the Sustainable Harborough Partnership has financed and delivered solar electricity schemes, promoted local food and drink businesses, established a business network for companies to save energy and run the I Love MH Festival. Local food and drink businesses were brought together at a pop-up area at Arts Fresco, Harborough’s street art festival, as part of Sustainable Harborough’s drive to help local people discover what is produced locally.

The Hero Project CIC, Coalville

The Hero Project is a community interest company formed by Julia Birkin and Deana Wildgoose to carry on North West Leicestershire District Council’s Coalville Project’s Coalville Heroes activities. Coalville Heroes has three community engagement themes: Heritage Heroes, celebrating the achievements of local people such as George Smith who campaigned for the rights of children and women in the brick industry; Food Heroes, which introduced a community growing space and kitchen; and Future Heroes, to help young people make a difference to their town.

Best Community Library

An award made for the best community library located in Leicestershire or Rutland that can demonstrate the usage and impact of the facility within their community in the 12 months prior to the end of July 2017.

Sponsored by...


The wide range services offered by Foxprint enables us to provide a broad range of printing solutions to clients throughout the United Kingdom. Our services offer the perfect way to extend your brand into your world!
Our team would be pleased to help you with your printing and related requirements.
Contact -  |  01509505413


Fleckney Community Library, Fleckney

Fleckney Library, which the community took over in 2016, lent more than 11,000 books in the past year and is also a home for a Sure Start Children’s Centre and a weekly Age UK day centre. Staffed by a volunteer team of all ages, the Library has become an integral part of Fleckney village life, with a café, secondhand book sales, a replanted garden, free sessions for the under-fives and a knit and natter group.


Runners up...

Bottesford Community Library, Bottesford

Bottesford Community Library Association was formed in 2015 to take over the village’s library so it could continue to loan books and provide information and public access to computers. A team of volunteers keeps the library open for 21 hours each week, including for events and as a place to enjoy refreshments and social interaction. Hundreds of people visit the library each month.

Rothley Community Library, Rothley

Opened in 2015 after a refurbishment, Rothley Community Library is a community hub and a resource centre for the village’s increasing population. Run by 40 volunteers, the library seeks to attract people new to the area as well as those who have lived there a long time. It operates a ‘pay as you like’ approach to events and there is a monthly film show.

Best Community Service

An award made for the best community service provided in Leicestershire or Rutland that can demonstrate the impact of their work within their community in the 12 months prior to the end of July 2017.

Sponsored by...


edibLE16 is a not-for-profit online shopping service bringing the very best of locally produced food and drink to the people in and around Market Harborough.
Contact:  |  07956008370


HERBS Rural Community Broadband, East Leicestershire

A community owned and operated wireless broadband and telephone service. HERBS reaches remote rural users via network of 28 relay stations covering 100 square miles and 48 parishes. Growing out of a need for a workable internet service, by this summer HERBS was providing fast broadband to 310 users and a telephone service to 85 – a mix of businesses, home workers, households and school children.


Runners up...

Sorrel Youth Café, Mountsorrel

Starting life targeted at the 12-21 age group, the Sorrel Youth Café has grown to be an integral part of village life open to the whole community and is supported by 32 volunteers aged from 16 to 80-plus. Offering reasonably priced refreshments in a safe space, the café is a social meeting place for the isolated, a social environment for young people and adults with special educational needs, and a training ground for young people.

109th Leicester Countesthorpe St Andrews Beaver Scout Colonies, Countesthorpe

Countesthorpe’s Beavers run an annual community impact project and over the past year the 36 six and seven year olds decided to help the village’s library by improving its children’s area.
The Beavers visited the library to decide how to help. They redecorated the display boards, raised £1760.64 to buy a bookshelf, books, seat cushions, a large play rug, interactive toys, Lego, jigsaws and more.

Unsung Hero

An award made to a person or group of people who live in Leicestershire or Rutland who have made a significant difference to their community/parish through their actions in the 12 months prior to the end of July 2017.

Sponsored by...


Taste Harborough is a food and drink brand which showcases and supports the fantastic businesses who grow, rear, catch, make, sell and serve local produce from Market Harborough and its surrounding area.


Steve Cramp

As project leader and manager of Mountsorrel Railway, Steve Cramp has spent every spare moment of the past decade on the project to research, rebuild and preserve the railways which once served nearby quarries. With Steve’s guidance and help from Lafarge Mountsorrel Quarry and 100,000 of volunteers’ hours, the Mountsorrel Railway is now able to operate passenger trains from the Great Central Railway sidings at Swithland to the newly created halt at the Bond Lane bridge and an intermediate halt at Nunckley for the Rothley and Mountsorrel Heritage Centre.


Runners up...

Julie Cooke

Nominated by Kegworth Parish Council, Julie Cooke is passionate about the village and the people in it. She is the driving force behind the ONE Kegworth group of volunteers who host inclusive community events. Julie’s hard work brought in Big Lottery Funding for the ONE Kegworth Food Festival Family Fun Day in June this year. She organises litter picks and is a key member of the Sideley Park working group.

Charlie McKemey

For more than three decades Charlie McKemey has served the people of Fleckney by volunteering in a variety of roles. Almost 30 years ago he started coaching the young football players of Fleckney Athletic. Now as club secretary he devotes many hours each week to ensure the club runs smoothly, including by involving parents. A Parish Councillor, Charlie has raised funds for the local primary school and was a co-founder of the Fleckney Fest group to encourage festivals to bring the community together.


An award made to a business or enterprise located in Leicestershire or Rutland that can demonstrate excellence in their work undertaken and the impact on their local community in the 12 months prior to the end of July 2017.

Sponsored by...


Clifton Packaging Group Ltd was established in 1981 and is a privately owned family business. We specialise in manufacture of packaging, packing machinery and contract packing predominantly in the food sector. We are able to offer the complete packaging solution all under one roof to meet your demands.
The Clifton Group has firmly established itself in the fast evolving world of packaging. The company was first started in London, as wholesalers of plain carrier bags and paper bags for retail outlets and has directed its efforts towards manufacturing flexible packaging materials especially for the snack food, confectionery, bakery, health food, wet protein and other FMCG markets.
Today the Clifton Packaging is proudly established in the City of Leicester in the heart of the United Kingdom.
Contact: Farhana Sheikh  |  |  01162893355



Taste Harborough

A food and drink brand run by local businesses as a not for profit cooperative. It coordinates a 'buy local' campaign, pooling resources to enable micro businesses to trade together to the public. By building a strong supply chain, Taste Harborough aims to see local produce being used by hotels and restaurants and stocked in shops to support the producers and reduce food miles. A Taste Trail event last May saw members of the public following a map around the town to discover local producers and sample their food and drink.