Yesterday evening we welcomed some of our professional contacts to our first Rural Networking Event at J36 Exhibition Centre. Partly a celebration of our Rural Business Award win, but mostly just an excuse to get together some of those who work hard in the rural community to support the farmers and other rural and tourism businesses who make our area what it is.
First up we heard from Maria Whitehead of Hawkshead Relish who told us their story – from the need to diversify after Foot & Mouth to how they are ever expanding their product range and play such an important part in flying the flag for Cumbrian produce.
Mary Smith from Growing Well, a charity we know well, gave us all an insight into the important work they do helping and supporting those in our area suffering from poor mental health. It is such an important local charity and we are keen to help Growing Well spread the word to find new supporters. There is a clear need for the service they provide and it was good to hear about their plans for the not too distant future. Hawkshead Relish and Growing Well already work together on projects and are a great example of an important local collaboration.
And finally, as we are sponsoring this year’s Cumbria Farm Business Awards, Andy and Anne Newbold, organisers of the awards, came along to explain more about them and how nominations can be made ahead of the awards in September. The awards, which will be held on evening of The Westmorland County Agricultural Show, will be a great opportunity to celebrate and recognise the kinds of businesses all of those in the room work with. Andy also introduced their new publication, Cumbria Farm Business.
The theme of the evening was definitely community and connection, and just how vital this is in rural areas such as ours. Afterwards Maria was kind enough to let us sample some of Hawkshead Relish’s delicious produce, which we enjoyed with amazing sausage rolls and quiches made on site at Café Ambio, along with some great local cheeses.
Thanks to everyone who took time out of their busy day – including those making last minute RPA claims! If you would like to attend a future event, please get in touch and we will ensure you are invited next time.