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2015 CPRE Hampshire Countryside Awards open for entries

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A countryside conservation charity, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (Hampshire) has launched its exciting 2015 Countryside Awards scheme, with The Southern Co-operative as lead sponsor. The launch event on Wednesday 25th March was held at Anstey Junior School in Alton, which won the 2014 ‘Young People’ category for its Community Growing Project.

As part of this year’s launch, the sponsors and judges also visited each of the 2014 category winners, including Blackwood Forest Holidays, which won the Rural Enterprise category, sponsored by Dutton Gregory Solicitors. 

The CPRE Hampshire Countryside Awards are designed to celebrate a beautiful, diverse and living countryside that everyone can value and enjoy. The spirit of this can be found in a product, a business, a service or a social enterprise. Applications are sought from all sections of the community, from projects both big and small, up until 30th June 2015. Entry is via a simple, downloadable form at

The lead sponsor of the 2015 CPRE Hampshire Countryside Awards, now in their ninth year, is The Southern Co-operative.  Gemma Lacey, Director of Sustainability and Communications said: “The CPRE Hampshire Countryside Awards celebrate the individuals and organisations who go the extra mile to make Hampshire a better place to live. The Southern Co-operative, which has its roots in Hampshire, has always had a purpose beyond profit and a determination to create a different kind of business; championing our local countryside and working with local communities. Supporting the awards demonstrates our appreciation of the people who make such a positive difference to the places where they live and work.”

Blackwood Forest Holidays was established by Forest Holidays and the Forestry Commission in woodlands near Winchester. It was praised by judges for highlighting the tension between the preservation and the enterprise imperatives which challenge all of us as we try to stand up for the countryside and preserve its inherent and irreplaceable beauty, but at the same time, endeavour to ensure there remain the conditions for sustainable economic development in the countryside for all those living and working in the locality as well as its visitors.

Blackwood Forest Holidays is going from strength to strength since winning the Rural Enterprise award. Julia Winterburn, General Manager said: “We are refurbishing our café into more of a bistro offering this spring so that we can cater for more guests and our local visitors.”

The four individual Award categories are sponsored by:

Community and Voluntary - The Southern Co-operative
Young People - Steve's Leaves
Rural Enterprise - Dutton Gregory Solicitors
Green Buildings - Radian.

Gemma Lacey added: “I want to encourage volunteers, young people, businesses and organisations across Hampshire to enter these awards and get the recognition they deserve for their contribution to Hampshire. I look forward to your entries!”