T Soanes & Son Poultry was named winner in the Rural Employer or the Year and Best Food and Drink Business of the Year categories

A Yorkshire-based poultry company has been judged one of the country’s best rural businesses at the Amazon-sponsored Rural Business Awards 2017.

T Soanes & Son Poultry was named winner in the Rural Employer or the Year and Best Food and Drink Business of the Year categories at a glittering ceremony. A total of six Yorkshire businesses picked up prizes on the night.

T Soanes & Son Poultry is a family owned firm based in Driffield and has been rearing and preparing poultry in the Yorkshire Wolds for 70 years. The company employs more than 20 people and from their 3,000 acres in East Yorkshire supply butchers, restauranters and independent retailers across the UK. The judges said staff were clearly valued and praised the company’s record of developing talent and promoting from witihin.

Andrew Soanes from T Soanes & Son Poultry said, “Even after 70 years in business, it’s always great to be recognised with a national award and they don’t come much better than the Rural Business Awards.

“Our business has seen many highs and lows within the rural economy so we know how important it is to cherish and support rural enterprises. Being named winner of two categories at this year’s Rural Business Awards is a great honour for us.

“It’s wonderful to be recognised in our sector as the Best Food and Drink Business, however, to be awarded Rural Employer of the Year is particularly special because it recognises how we run our company and how much we value, and invest in, our employees.”

Doug Gurr, UK country manager, Amazon, said: “The stories of these successful rural businesses are incredibly inspiring and just go to show the immense talent that exists at the heart of our rural communities in the UK.

“I would like to extend a hearty congratulations to those who were successful in the awards, and to thank all those who entered and shared their successes, and wish them the very best for the future.”

Other Yorkshire businesses successful at this year’s Amazon-sponsored Rural Business Awards include Herdysleep from Leeds who were named winners in the Best Rural Start-up categoriy. Wold Top Brewery from Driffield was named winner in the Outstanding Rural Diversification Project category.

In the same category, Mini Explorers Nursery from Northallerton claimed the runner up prize and Flowers from the Farm from York was highly commended. Humble Bee Leisure from Scarborough was highly commended in the Best Rural Tourism Business category.

The only UK-wide programme dedicated to showcasing the success of rural businesses, the Rural Business Awards are now in their third year and are run in partnership with the CLA and Amazon.

The RBAs are the brainchild of Leicestershire businesswomen Anna Price and Jemma Clifford, who wanted to showcase the wealth of entrepreneurial talent in rural areas of Britain – a sector of the economy they felt was all-too-often overlooked in favour of large city-based firms.

The awards are organised by rural businesses for rural businesses and judged by people who understand the rural sector, which is growing rapidly and employs in excess of 3.4 million people in more than 600,000 businesses across the UK.

This year’s awards saw nearly three times as many entries as in 2016, with businesses from 52 counties in the UK sending in their applications. They were split into 13 categories with five finalists in each, of which one winner, one runner-up and three highly commended prizes were awarded, plus an overall champion of champions.

CLA director general Helen Woolley said: “The CLA is delighted to partner with the Rural Business Awards to highlight the vital contribution our rural areas make to the wider economy.

“It was a great pleasure for me to be a part of the judging panel to see the passion for rural business demonstrated by the finalists. My congratulations go to all the winners who have shown great expertise in their field and have a real understanding of how they fit into the rural economy as a whole. I urge all our winners to keep flying the flag for rural business!”

Jemma Clifford, who co-founded the RBAs, alongside Anna Price, said: “The Rural Business Awards give rural enterprises of all sizes the opportunity to showcase their success and the contribution they are making to our thriving rural economy – just the firms that have entered in 2017 have combined turnovers well in excess of £70m.

“Hundreds of companies enter the RBAs each year and the finalists illustrate the best businesses the countryside has to offer in each of the 13 categories.”


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