As our national final is just a week away, we think it is the perfect time to get to know the businesses vying for our coveted national awards. Over the next few weeks we will be taking a look at each of our twelve categories in turn, from Best Rural Start Up all the way through to the Triumph Over Adversity award.

Each national finalist has already won the award for their category in their own region. We think they’re all fantastic rural businesses, but who will our judges declare to be the cream of the crop?

Find out more about each of the business in with a chance of winning the national Triumph Over Adversity Award below. This award is sponsored by Amazon.



Brickhouse Farm Cottages – North Region


Following a life-changing road traffic accident involving their youngest daughter, Ian and Susan Rainford soon learned there was a lack of accessible holiday accommodation. They set out to change that, encountering significant challenges with the planning department along the way.

Brickhouse Farm Cottages provide the most stunning accessible holiday accommodation in the rural village of Hambleton, just 10 miles from the dazzling sites and entertainment in Blackpool, Lancashire. These purpose-built, self catering retreats offer luxury for all abilities and provide additional aids to suit each individual’s needs.

The Cottages, each sleeping 2-12 people, surround a fully stocked fishing lake with diverse wildlife. Accessible hot-tubs each with track hoists, to ease access for visitors with mobility issues, offer added luxury and the new Bistro and Hydrotherapy Pool give families and groups the chance to relax and have fun together… The way it should be.


Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm – South East Region

While working as a forester in his 20s, Clive Collins fell 30ft from a tree, breaking his back and becoming paralysed from the waist down. Whilst recovering in hospital, he decided he wouldn’t let his injuries prevent him from pursuing his dreams. His journey building Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm ran into lots of obstacles but, from using specially adapted vehicles and equipment to studying marketing for three years, Clive has found a way to overcome them and make his business a success.

Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm is a grower and retailer in East Sussex that has just celebrated 30 years in business. Customers can visit and choose from 10,000 trees in the plantations or freshly cut ones in the yard. There is a delivery and recycling service. A thriving shop offers everything from Christmas tree stands to wreaths, lights, decorations with friendly, non-intrusive service. The farm is a focal point for the local community at Christmas time with carol concerts and other events. Every year it raises a significant amount for its chosen local charity the Kent, Sussex and Surrey Air Ambulance.


Croft Farm & Celtic Cottages – Wales & Northern Ireland Region

Following the devastating loss of their son to childhood cancer in October 2013, thanks to the help from family, staff and the local community, Andy and Sylvie Gow continued to run Croft Farm & Celtic Cottages whilst supporting their grieving family and themselves. Today they run the business appreciating that no one knows what may be around the corner; adults and children need to be able to enjoy great holidays away from the strains of usual pressures.

Since 1988, Andy and Sylvie have made it their mission to provide families with treasured memories that will last a lifetime, through offering luxury cottage getaways. They have transformed Croft Farm from derelict outbuildings on a run-down farm into an award-winning eco-friendly holiday cottage business and smallholding. Set in the stunning coastal countryside of Pembrokeshire, Croft Farm holds a Green Tourism Silver Award, a regional Pembrokeshire Tourism Award and a Rural Business Award 2018. Croft Farm & Celtic Cottages offers something for everyone with on-site facilities including hot tubs, an indoor swimming pool, sauna, gym, soft-play, play barn, adventure playground, pets corner and daily animal feeding.


Godwick Hall – East Region

Set in 100 acres of parkland, Godwick Hall and Great Barn is a stunning luxury wedding and accommodation business. Back in 2012, James and Aimee Garner started their business with just a barn in desperate need of refurbishment and a dream to turn it into a successful events business. In 2013, the business owners lost two family members in the same year to breast cancer. They were both hugely influential giving tremendous emotional support and believed in what the owners were doing. They managed to turn adversity into something positive by fundraising over £30,000 for the local Breast Cancer Care Unit.

The Great Barn was built in the 16th Century and has been sympathetically restored to retain its original features and now hosts between 40 and 50 weddings and events a year. Nearby Godwick Hall has been refurbished with seven beautiful bedrooms offering luxurious accommodation for groups wanting to celebrate a wedding or another occasion in unspoilt Norfolk countryside. Three Shepherd’s Huts in the grounds of Godwick Hall compliment the offering with all year round glamping.


Running Deer CIC – South West Region

Based on the edge of Dartmoor in their 16 acre woodland, Running Deer operates a special needs school for children with autism, ADHD, social, emotional and mental health difficulties. Despite facing many challenges, especially finding the funding to purchase their own site, the social enterprise has grown rapidly, particularly during the last two years. This success is in a large part due to the tireless efforts of staff, particularly the managing director and operations director, who went above and beyond for the business despite facing difficulties in their personal lives.

Running Deer offers day respite for parents with children with special educational needs during the holidays, and courses in rural skills for adults, in particular those at risk of exclusion. They also rescue wild Dartmoor Hill ponies. The organisation has just purchased 18 more acres of land – perfect for growing their own food, and perhaps a few alpacas!


Sol Laug Haven C.I.C – Midlands Region

Sol Havens is an eco-sustainable permaculture farm with an education and rejuvenation centre that provides homeless and vulnerable people with a safe working environment to learn, grow and blossom to their full potential. Both founders have overcome significant challenges in their personal lives to create a social enterprise focussed on giving back to the community, and helping others overcome the same issues they have faced.

Their aim is to connect homeless and vulnerable adults together with Mother Earth, providing a world of nourishment and rejuvenation through improving peoples’ mental and physical well being. They offer steps up so others can help themselves, grow, evolve and believe in themselves, providing training on rural skills, growing, cooking and budgeting, enabling people to gain confidence and social skills.


Which business will be triumphant? Find out on 27th February! We’ll be posting the results on our Twitter and Facebook channels, so you can follow along there. All that’s left is to wish the very best of luck to the businesses vying for the Amazon-sponsored National Triumph Over Adversity Award, as well as all of our other national finalists.

To see the full list of finalists or find more information on the National Final, go to www.ruralbusinessawards.co.uk/national

If you think your business has a shot at winning the Triumph Over Adversity Award, or one of our other awards, why not enter the 2020/21 Rural Business Awards? Learn more at www.ruralbusinessawards.co.uk/enter-2020

Sign up for our newsletter

Find out about the latest Awards news and exclusive offers.

You have Successfully Subscribed!