The 2016 Suffolk Coastal Business & Community Awards took place on Thursday 15th September at The Hangar, Kesgrave Hall. Organised by Suffolk Coastal District Council, the Awards celebrated the business and community initiatives and successes that have taken place in Suffolk Coastal over the last 18 months.

The evening was hosted for a third time by Steve Allen a comedian, writer and presenter and opened with a drinks reception sponsored by Gotelee Solicitors.

With well over one hundred entries for the awards this year, the judges had a tough job to shortlist the finalists and agree the winners. On the night there were more than fifty businesses and groups represented alongside the many individual finalists and distinguished guests.

A total of fifteen awards were presented throughout the evening covering categories including Customer Focus, Services to the Community, People Development, Encouraging Tourism and Charity Champion. The winners received an engraved trophy and all the finalists were awarded a bottle of Adnams Champagne with their certificates.

Badingham Shop and Café were the first to be recognised as this year’s winners of the Chairman’s Award. This was followed by a brief pause as guests dined on an impressive meal of Parma ham and roasted figs followed by Gressingham Duck in a peppercorn jus, with vanilla Panna Cotta, strawberry compote and honeycomb for dessert. Then followed the rest of the awards and live music from the Goodtimes Party Band.

WINNERS & RUNNERS UP

New Business – Sponsored by Suffolk Coastal District Council

  • WINNER: The Spa Pavilion Felixstowe – Reopened in November 2015, this independent theatre has been refurbished in less than 12 months, creating 30 jobs and offering NVQ qualifications.
  • Runners up: Ruby and Scarlett & It’s Red Ltd

Business Growth – Sponsored by Suffolk Coastal District Council

  • WINNER: Marshall Hatchick – 2015 was their 20th anniversary, marked with their biggest turnover increase to date, 50% growth in office expansion and the creation of eight new job roles.
  • Runners up:  Pier Marketing & Inn Style

Services to Community – group – sponsored by EDF Energy

  • WINNER: Kesgrave ParkRun – A regular finalist tonight, this team of 10, ensure 300+ runners, joggers or walkers complete a safe, well marshalled event every week.
  • Runners up: Wickham Market Town Team, Home-Start Suffolk East Ipswich and Coastal, & Brandeston Village Hall

Services to the Community – individual – sponsored by Places for People

  • WINNER: Sue Thurlow -  Her award entry describes her as working “tirelessly and utterly selflessly to enhance the quality of life of the local community in both Brandeston and the surrounding villages.”
  • Runners up: Steven Burch & Sue Hall

Innovation – sponsored by Suffolk Coastal District Council

  • WINNER: React Computer Partnership -Nominated for their new business service called Intelligent Technology, React predominantly works with SMEs to make existing technology more efficient
  • Runner up: The Kinetic Science Foundation

Charity Champions – sponsored by EB Carpets

  • WINNER: Art for Cure – They saw a staggering 8,000 people visit this year’s event at Glemham Hall, raising money towards vital research into the cure and treatment of breast cancer
  • Runners up: Anglia Factors & Steven Burch

People Development – Sponsored by Melton Day Nursery

  • WINNER: Sue Hargadon – Known as the Head Teacher to have turned Farlingaye around, Ms Hargadon has achieved exceptional and sustained results in this Woodbridge High School.
  • Runners up: Christies Care Training Team & Lofty Heights

Health and Wellbeing – sponsored by Ufford Park

  • WINNER: Melton Primary School – They’ve made sure their pupils are off the sofa and online gaming with their ‘Bike for Life’ project for 4-11year olds, promoting health and life skills
  • Runners up: Home-Start Suffolk East Ipswich and Coastal & Kesgrave ParkRun

Encouraging Tourism – sponsored by The Suffolk Coast DMO

  • WINNER: Choose Woodbridge – This team has worked extremely hard to shout loud and proud about the wonder of Woodbridge. It’s new website and active social media platforms bring Woodbridge into 2016
  • Runners up: Woodbridge Tide Mill & The Woodbridge Shuck Shellfish Festival

Customer Focus – sponsored by Bruisyard Hall

  • WINNER: Suffolk Secrets – Described as being committed to great customer service and a holiday experience to treasure. They boast a customer satisfaction rating of 98% by FeeFo.
  • Runners up: Framlingham Medical Practice, The Hearing Care Centre & Heritage Care at Home

Team of the Year – sponsored by Trade Supply Windows

  • WINNER: Kesgrave ParkRun – This highly popular park run is overseen by a small team of 10. Passion and drive ensure that this is a well-oiled, safe and enjoyable weekly event
  • Runners up: Home-Start Suffolk East Ipswich and Coastal & Brierfield Care Home Team

Great and Green – sponsored by Adnams

  • WINNER: Portal Woodlands Group –  improving the woodlands and wildlife of Portal Avenue Martlesham for 17 years, they have volunteered work for over 1000 hours during the past year.
  • Runner up: Greenprint Forum

Club of the Year – sponsored by Federation of Small Businesses

  • WINNER: Woodbridge Rugby Club – this established club goes from strength to strength. They had a record breaking season this year across all sections
  • Runners up: Sizewell Karate Club Senior Instructors & Framlingham Flyers Running Club

Enabling Communities – voted by the public – Sponsored by Town102 & The Beach radio stations

  • WINNER: Brook Farm Residents’ Association for Saxmundham Music Festival ‘Sax Fest’
  • Runners up: Station House Community Connections, Yoxford Bowls Club, Dunwich Museum and Reading Rooms & Huntingfield Parish Council (for The Hub).

 

Cllr TJ Haworth-Culf, Cabinet Member for Customers, Communities and Leisure at Suffolk Coastal District Council, described the evening: “Tonight has been a real success and it’s been fantastic to bring the people, businesses and groups in Suffolk Coastal together who work so hard to improve our communities.

“We love putting on these awards every year as it allows us to say thank you to those unsung heroes of the community who are changing the lives of others, all the winners and everyone who has taken the time to nominate and vote.

“We have some tight-knit communities in Suffolk Coastal and it’s great to see the ideas, and initiatives being produced and delivered which help to make Suffolk Coastal a better place to live.”

 

Rob Simpson, Chairman of Woodbridge Rugby Club, said: “We’re over the moon to have won. We set out to develop our club to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible and with our ever-expanding youth section, Wheeled Warriors wheelchair rugby team and very successful men’s and women’s sections, we are very proud of our rugby family.”

Terry Barrow of the Brook Farm Residents’ Association and organiser of Sax Music Festival,  said “We are so pleased and genuinely had no idea. What a great feeling when our name got called out. I can’t stress enough how having the backing and funding from some of the major players like SCDC, has such a positive impact on what we can achieve. It really tips the balance. We are very happy winners. Bring on 2017!”