Devon businesses triumph at national business awards

News Desk
Authored by News Desk
Posted Monday, February 28, 2022 - 11:34pm

Two companies from Devon have been named among the best rural businesses in the UK after winning a national Rural Business Award 

The Rural Business Awards, backed by Amazon, is the only UK-wide programme dedicated to showcasing the success of rural businesses 

25th February 2022, Devon: Rull Orchard from Thorverton and The Outdoors Group from Shillingford Abbot have been named among the best rural businesses in the UK after winning a national Rural Business Award.

Rull Orchard was named Best Rural Small Business and The Outdoors Group took home the Best Rural Recreational or Outdoor Pursuits Business award at the national final of the Amazon-backed Rural Business Awards, which took place virtually on Thursday 24th February.

Rull Orchard is the brainchild of Mike and Claire Shorland. The company started making cider in 2020 and has now expanded the business to offer juices, honey and sparkling drinks. 

The Outdoors Group is a Scandinavian-inspired Forest school based around learner-led, project-based experiential learning. It offers a wide range of outdoor activities for kindergarten children, toddler groups, home education groups, holiday clubs, birthday parties, school groups, adult training, and team building.

Speaking after winning Best Rural Small Business, Mike Shorland from Rull Orchard said: “We are really chuffed to have won the Best Rural Small Business - we can’t believe it! We put our heart and soul into Rull Orchard and to come out on top of this category, against all these amazing businesses, is a great achievement for us.”

Speaking after winning Best Rural Recreation or Outdoor Pursuit Business, Tom Lowday from The Outdoors Group said: “We are beyond delighted to have won this award and would like to thank the Rural Business Awards for choosing us as the winner in this category, it was a huge privilege to be chosen over so many other fantastic organisations. It's so important that the hard work and efforts of rural businesses are given the recognition they deserve and we're very grateful to the Rural Business Awards for facilitating an opportunity for this to happen. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us and most importantly, our incredible staff once again for their continued dedication, hard work, and passion for putting our purpose into practice - putting people and the planet first over profit, always. We wouldn't be where we are without them and are grateful every day for the amazing team around us and all that they do.”

The Rural Business Awards 2021/2022, held in partnership with Amazon, will mark the Awards’ seventh year of celebrating the success of businesses across the UK’s rural economy. Due to the impact of COVID-19, the competition has taken place virtually for the past two years. 

Jules Hudson, Countryfile and Escape to the Country presenter, hosted the ceremony which is now available on playback on the RBA Facebook page and the RBA YouTube Channel.

“Rural businesses are a vital part of the UK economy, and the Rural Business Awards does an incredible job of shining a light on their importance and achievements,” said John Boumphrey, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “I’d like to congratulate Rull Orchard and The Outdoors Group on their wins and wish them every success for the future.” 

The Rural Business Awards recognise and celebrate the successes and vital contributions of rural businesses to the UK’s economy, a sector which in England alone contributes £261bn to the nation’s GVA (Gross Value Added) – nearly a fifth of the country’s total economic activity[1]. Founded by rural-based businesswomen, Jemma Clifford and Anna Price, the Rural Business Awards are backed by Amazon and assessed by an independent panel of judges, drawn from the rural business sector, rural public sector agencies, and rural charitable organisations. 

Rural Business Awards co-founder, Anna Price, added: “On behalf of the Rural Business Awards team, I would like to congratulate Rull Orchard and The Outdoors Group for their well-earned wins. I’d also like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the businesses who made it to the final.” 

The Awards are organised by rural business for rural business with the aim of celebrating the achievements of rural businesses and developing a strong network for rural business owners. 

The companies had the chance to enter 13 different categories, ranging from Best Rural Start Up Business and Best Rural Innovation through to The Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award. The winners were decided by an independent panel of judges selected from the rural business sector, rural public sector agencies and rural charitable organisations.  

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