Rossendale Business Awards: The Valley at Work Award

The Valley at Work Award was introduced in 2012. The winner of this category is a local business that is, in the opinion of the judging panel and the Valley at Work committee, the best nominated for any R-Award category in the year. We’re looking to recognise a business that is a beacon of inspiration for us all.

Here are the winners so far:

2012: Tufties Hair & Beauty

Sponsor Free Press Head of Communities Dave Lafferty with Tufties Hair, Beauty and Aesthetics, from left, Michelle Woodward, Julie Bradshaw and Victoria Jones. Victoria said: “I am still excited by winning the last award, thank you very much.” The ‘moorland horse’ trophy was designed and made by local artist Chris Worswick.

2013: Love Umbrellas

The Valley At Work award was won by Love Umbrellas from Rawtenstall. Owner Klair Ward described her business as one that ‘had created its own market’. Klair was stunned by her success and said: “I am really shocked. I have sold umbrellas to dozens of different countries including Brazil and Singapore. I have also sold to Amy Childs and some of this year’s X Factor finalists. It was really by accident that I came across this business and I didn’t realise when I started it that I had something that would work.” The trophy was designed by Jake Ford and made by Alder Grange School.

2014: Tufties Hair & Beauty

Determination to succeed no matter what the difficulties led Tufties Hair and Beauty to win the coveted Valley at Work trophy. The business has had a hectic year converting a listed former pub the Ram’s Head in Rawtenstall into new premises while still maintaining its other salon. Vicky said: “You never stop learning and we view every experience as a learning experience. Our achievement has been to create the complete convenient ‘one stop shop’ for our clients, providing all their hair and beauty requirements under one roof. We want to expand Tufties into a trio of salons and the initial move to the Rams Head is just the beginning. In summary, there have been huge external challenges and obstacles to our plans each of which we have addressed and overcome as we have continued to successfully drive the business forward.”

Chair of Valley at Work Rob Carder said, “Tufties are a very worthy winner and what shone through in the nomination form was how passionate Vicky was about her business and how determined she was to create a thriving workplace quite literally against the odds.”

The trophy was designed and made by Alexis Valentine of Walking On Glass.

2015: BowWowMiaow

When pet care business BowWowMiaow, from Haslingden, was announced as the winner of the prestigious Valley at Work Award owner Chloe Taylor was in shock. Chloe said: “We were up against such big, big businesses, which have had such an influence in the Valley. This is the first time doing anything like this and I didn’t expect to win. It is amazing and the award is going to Doggy Day Care so everyone can see it. BowWowMiaow is not just me and it wouldn’t work without everyone involved. We are a small business but we have big ideas to become bigger.”

2016: Flightdeck Experience

Free Press reporter Charlotte Green presented a beautiful bespoke engraved crystal trophy created by Alexis Valentine from Walking on Glass to the Valley at Work winner, the business deemed a beacon among all others. Collecting the crystal was the innovative winner of the Tourism Award Stacksteads-based Flightdeck Experience. In a converted mill at Toll Bar owners Steve and Vicky Everson have built not one but two simulators, a Boeing 737 and a Vulcan.

Afterwards they were lost for words. “I am absolutely gobsmacked,” said Vicky.

The couple moved from Milton Keynes to Rossendale to be nearer Steve’s workplace as a broadcast engineer and their passion was aircraft. Their hobby business, which started in their spare room at home, has been so successful it is now a full-time job for them both and attracts international customers to Rossendale.

They married on Concorde at Manchester Airport and fell in love with Rossendale. Vicky said: “It just felt like home and it’s really nice to feel a part of the community.” Steve added: “Some people ask why we are not based near to an airport, but we wanted to give people who live nowhere near an airport that experience.”

Rob Carder, Chair of Valley at Work, praised Flightdeck for bringing ‘an entirely different experience’ to Rossendale and urged everyone to go and see it.

How to win the 2017 Valley at Work Award

Make sure your business is nominated for  2017 R-Award, and then send us an entry that shows what an inspiration your business is, telling a compelling story across several categories. It doesn’t matter how small your business is, or how new it is, what matters is how inspirational your story is.

Photographs by Liz Henson Photography

Reporting by Catherine Smyth Media

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