The first Havant Small Business Awards ceremony which I hosted last Friday night was a huge success.
Thanks to News readers for their support over the last three months. It was a fantastic evening which recognised and celebrated our brilliant local businesses – and the people behind them.
Hundreds of guests, including guest speaker and self-made baby food millionaire Paul Lindley, were present as finalists competed for prizes across 12 categories.
Special congratulations to Emsworth’s Fresh From The Boat, who sailed away with the evening’s overall prize of Havant Small Business of the Year.
The family-run fishing company were rewarded for their inspiring commitment to sustainable fishing, and popular initiatives such as the Community Fish Box.
With so many successful businesses on show, it is difficult to hand-pick notable finalists. Particular mentions should, however, go to Havant’s historically-themed café 19 Fourteas Tearooms and Julie Parham and her team at Purbrook’s Cut ‘n’ Dry salon. Both went away as deserving category winners.
Another stand-out winner was Tina Heath, a friendly fixture of Hayling Island’s business community, who was recognised for her efforts leading the Mengham Traders Group and organising the area’s late-night shopping initiative.
Thanks to the supporters and sponsors who made the awards possible, from key sponsors Fasset and media partners The News, to South Downs College – whose staff and students were extremely welcoming hosts.
Thanks also to sponsors The Breeze, trophy-makers Lewmar and Barratt Homes.
Having supported the awards, Barratt were also at the heart of other community celebrations last week.
I was delighted to help open the Stride community centre in Denvilles, built by Barratt apprentices at the heart of their new Nursery Fields development.
The Stride centre will act as a real hub for the local community, hosting residents’ clubs, societies and meetings in state-of-the-art facilities.
Having visited the construction site with Housing Minister Brandon Lewis in February, it’s great to see the complex now completed.
This week I also lent my support to Rally for Heroes, who were fundraising at Havant Tesco last Saturday morning for their epic charity drive across Europe this August.
Their support for our brave service personnel, both past and present, is terrific.