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Countryside Awards 2019


Our 2019 Awards are now open for entries!

Now in its 13th year, The Countryside Awards continues to grow from strength to strength. This awards scheme is a real celebration of the innovative, diverse and sustainable work being done to support and enhance a thriving Hampshire countryside.

The Awards are split into four categories, each designed to showcase key aspects of countryside life.

These are the Community and Voluntary, Rural Enterprise, Making Places and Young People. In addition, we are also holding the Hampshire Choice Award, newly developed last year and a great success which opens the shortlisted candidates up to public vote, with a chance of winning £500 towards their work.

Community & Voluntary

Proudly sponsored by our friends at Southern Co-op (www.thesouthernco-operative.co.uk), this award is open to organisations, individuals and enterprises who have put the countryside at the forefront of a project or their organisations/ themselves.

This category is aimed at community and voluntary organisations and enterprises, including charitable projects and schemes run by parish councils, local interest or amenity groups. In the past judges have awarded organisations with a high level of community involvement, projects and schemes which encourage people to connect with the countryside, the prioritisation of environmental, conservation or restoration within the rural or urban environment and the elements of sustainability and education.

This is always a very popular category with last year seeing entries from a variety of groups such as Walkers for Health, Friends of Lepe, Sparsholt Village shop and The Petersfield Society. Taking part in the awards is a great way to highlight some of the amazing work happening in our Hampshire communities and gaining additional support for voluntary organisations.


Making Places

This category has been sponsored by Hastoe Group (www.hastoe.com) and recognises, amongst others, architects, developers, parish councils, housing associations and renewable energy companies that are positively contributing to the sustainability of the rural environment or communities. This can be either new or regenerated buildings or landscapes.

Judges look for well-designed or interesting schemes that exhibit elements that include conservation and enhancement of the site ecology/ biodiversity. Under this category, judges would also look at aspects including previously developed land or buildings, the renovation of existing buildings or tackling a challenging site location, materials or construction techniques which minimise the impact on the environment or are sourced locally. Other factors include those who are creating apprenticeship schemes or contribute towards maintaining local or rural employment skills, alongside the effective engagement of the community.

This saw a diverse range of entrants last year, with some tough decisions required by the judges given the high level of entrants. Applicants included Longstock Park Water Gardens, T2 Architects and Better Boundaries. In the end, Hillier’s Haven a project which turned a disused and overgrown and unsafe environment into a beautiful, sustainable park and leisure area were the winners.

Young People

This category is a wonderful way to learn more about the outstanding work supporting our young people with a particular focus on developing an appreciation, knowledge and love of the countryside.

The category is sponsored by Forest Holidays (www.forestholidays.co.uk), a previous award winner for its Blackwood Forest location.

Applicable projects would involve young people up to the age of 18, and Judges have previously looked at projects which engage with a large number and/or wide range of young people and the effectiveness in connecting them to the countryside. Leaving a legacy - either through the project’s long-term sustainability or by producing information from which others can learn is also a key factor in judge’s choice, as is accessibility for all children– including children with disabilities or a diverse range of young people.

Groups considered could include educational establishments (all levels), youth groups, scouts, guides, cubs, brownies and youth offender programmes. Previous shortlisted applicants include Forest Schools, Youth Counselling Services. Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Education Centres and Healthy Living Charites, with Oasis Down to Earth Farm taking the top prize in 2018.

Rural Enterprise

This category benefits from the support of Hampshire Fare, and is awarded to a business or council organisation which, through their work, either directly or indirectly enhance the rural environment and the rural economy. This category includes both ‘for profit’ and ‘not for profit’ enterprises.

Qualities the judges look for include community and stakeholder involvement, conservation of the countryside, projects which deal with recycling, climate change or sustainability, innovation, employment of local people/volunteer inclusion and the preservation of the tranquillity of the countryside.

Last year saw a record number of entries, with shortlisted applicants including Gorilla Spirits, Exton Park Vineyard and The Wessex Plum Company, with Beechcroft Farm Shop being the overall category winners.

If you think that you would like to take part in the Awards then please download and complete the below entry form.   All entries must reach us by 5pm on 7th June. For any further information then please contact Penny on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or ring 01962 841 897. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Please see application pack for awards criteria.

The Awards are open for entries from 18th March – 7th June.

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