Harrogate village shop scoops national award at Rural Oscars

Dale Stores in Birstwith has been revealed as the ‘Best Village Shop/Post Office’ at the Countryside Alliance Awards, known to many as the ‘Rural Oscars’.

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 12:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 3:00 pm
Matthew and Andrea with their award for the 'Best Village Shop/Post Office' at the Countryside Alliance Awards

The award celebrates the important role that village shops play in rural communities and commends those who go above and beyond within the community.

Earlier this year Dale Stores, owned by Matthew and Andrea, picked up the award for ‘Best Village Shop/Post Office’ in the region and after a further round of judging, they can now add the national crown to their growing collection of titles.

Matthew said: “Andrea and I are absolutely blown away to have received this accolade.

“When we won the regional award, we had so many wonderful testimonials from our community and this made us realise how well we were thought of and what an impact we had made on peoples lives, particularly through the pandemic.

“We pride ourselves on maintaining an essential service to this rural area, particularly when so many villages have lost theirs, so this recognition is humbling and overwhelming and it hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

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This year saw a record number of nominations, with over 18,000 public submissions made, making it the awards most successful year to date.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, judging this year was done virtually and the organisation celebrated the annual event with an online reception.

Dale Stores was described by the deciding judge as being a “vibrant and well stocked village shop” which is a “hub and lifeline for people in this rural area, serving the community on so many levels.”

The judge added: “They offer great service and great produce and are constantly evolving to meet the needs of their community and they are a shining example of entrepreneurial spirit.”

Countryside Alliance Awards Director Sarah Lee said: “Our judges have had a particularly difficult time singling out winners from thousands and thousands of entries.

“These awards come at a time when many rural businesses are working around the clock to rebuild from the turmoil caused by Covid-19.

“They need our support now more than ever.”