To highlight the inaugural Rural Business Awards, and in tribute to the huge variety of innovative and exciting rural businesses operating in Cumbria, Rory Stewart MP has visited a number of tourism-related business based in the heart of Penrith, at Station House. He met with John Wilson of Lake District Paddleboarding, Dan Richards of Lake District Cycling, Daniel Holder of The Quiet Site, and Jim Walker of Ullswater Steamers to talk about how rural businesses can be best supported in Parliament.

The businesses who took time to meet with Rory are representative of a new generation of imaginative rural businesses, who are making the most of the natural environment on Penrith’s doorstep. Lake District Paddle Boarding is Cumbria’s only dedicated stand-up-paddle provider, based in the heart of the English lakes in Cumbria. Lessons can be taken on Ullswater, Derwentwater, Wastwater and Buttermere, and the team provide an all-round experience for anyone wishing to experience the beauty of the Lake District from the top of a paddleboard. John works closely with his business colleagues in ensuring that visitors to the Lake District can enjoy a holistic experience: enjoying a range of outdoor activities in one of the most stunning parts of the country. Lake District Cycling, whose cycle-hire hub is on the south-bound platform of Penrith railway station, offers a service from train-to-cycle, whilst The Quiet Site is a multi award-winning, carbon neutral campsite on the shores of Ullswater.

Rory said: “Cumbrian businesses are at the heart of the regeneration of our county: ensuring that they are taking advantage of a growing, strengthening economy, and the lifeblood of our communities. I am absolutely thrilled that so many innovative and energetic businesses such as these are flourishing at the moment, and importantly sending a message that tourism can pay, and is an exciting industry for young Cumbrians to get into. I encourage all rural businesspeople in Cumbria to think about entering the Rural Business Awards, which is such a great tool in helping us to recognise the valuable role these SMEs play in boosting our local economy, and our local villages and towns.”

The aim of the Rural Business Awards is to give recognition to businesses operating right across the rural sector, from engineering through to artisan food producers and professional services organisations. Importantly, the awards are organised by rural business for rural business, and judged by people who understand the rural sector. The ten award categories will be decided by an independent panel of judges drawn from the rural business sector, official agencies and rural charitable organisations.

Anna Price, co-founder of the awards, said: “Our aim is to grow The Rural Business Awards over the next five years to become the UK’s most prestigious and respected Awards for rural businesses. If you are a business in Penrith and The Border, and are interested in sponsoring the awards or would like to contact us to see how you can be involved, please get in touch as we would love to hear from you!”

To enter your own business, or nominate another you feel is worthy of these awards, those interested should visit www.ruralbusinessawards.co.uk or call 01162163161 for support in entering a nomination.


L-R: John Wilson of Lake District Paddleboarding, Dan Richards of Lake District Cycling, Daniel Holder of The Quiet Site, Rory Stewart MP, and Jim Walker of Ullswater Steamers

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