People across the North East of Scotland and beyond are being urged to share their stories of the work done by local estates and land-based businesses to help their surrounding communities flourish, as nominations for the 2019 Helping It Happen Awards get underway.

Following two successful years, organiser Scottish Land & Estates has declared the Helping It Happen Awards 2019 open for business. The national Awards, which aim to recognise the role of estates, farms and rural businesses in enabling and supporting success in rural areas helping rural Scotland thrive, will once again be sponsored by The MacRobert Trust.

In 2018, North East businesses Stracathro Estate near Laurencekirk and Game for Giving (an initiative set up by both the Angus Glens and Grampian Moorland Groups) won the Iver Salveson Green Business Award and the Working with Communities Award respectively.

To celebrate the launch of the 2019 awards, David Johnstone, Chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, visited another of the 2018 winners, Philiphaugh Estate near Selkirk. Philiphaugh Estate won the 2018 Enhancing Our Environment Award for a project which linked upland peatland restoration with the salmon fishing on the River Tweed.

David Johnstone said:

“I am delighted to launch the 2019 Helping it Happen Awards. Last year two of our nine winners came from the North East and they clearly demonstrated the depth and variety of businesses and initiatives in the region. In the case of Stracathro Estate and Game for Giving, they also demonstrated the forward thinking and altruistic nature of many of our rural businesses.

“We want to highlight and celebrate the significant positive contribution land-based businesses make in rural areas throughout rural Scotland – in particular, the ways in which they add value to support the local economy and the environment for the wider benefit of they provide environmental benefits for the wider community. We’re were incredibly pleased proud with the success of 2017 and 2018 awards of the success of the awards over the past 2 years, and look forward to recognising and rewarding even more worthy businesses this year.

“We urge people up and down the country to submit their entries for this year’s awards - the quality of entries last year was exceptional, and we are looking forward to receiving this year’s crop of stories. I am sure the judges will have a tough task in narrowing down the shortlist once entries close in July this year.”

Lianne MacLennan, Game for Giving Co-ordinator, said:

“Game for Giving is an initiative set up by both the Angus Glens and Grampian Moorland Groups. We work with local butchers and chefs to create oven ready meals using fresh Game and ingredients that we donate to local charities in the communities from Aberdeen to Dundee throughout the season.

“We supply to numerous local charities, supporting vulnerable families and the homeless. They really are grateful for the meals not only over the festive Christmas period but throughout the shooting season. We find the project particularly rewarding and to have won a Helping It Happen Award for Working with the Community really is something special. It’s a nice feeling to have some recognition for our work.”

To nominate, people are being asked to share how their local estate, farm or rural business has made a positive contribution to their area. Entries can be submitted via Scottish Land & Estates’ website –www.scottishlandandestates.co.uk/helping-it-happen - before the closing date of 8th July 2019.

Image shows L to R: Michael Strang Steel, Estate Manager, Philiphaugh Estate, David Johnstone, Chairman of Scottish Land and Estates and Rachel Coyle, representing Tweed Forum

Abigail Shepherd