A Bedfordshire organisation which works with some of the county’s most vulnerable children and young adults is in the running to be named one of the best rural businesses in the UK after being shortlisted for a regional Rural Business Award.

The Seeds of Change based just outside Bedford has been shortlisted in the Best Professional Services category at the 2019/20 Rural Business Awards, held in partnership with Amazon. They will battle it out against fellow rural businesses, entrepreneurs and enterprises from across the Eastern region for a place at the national final.

The Seeds of Change works with young people aged between 5-18 from across Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire who are experiencing challenges in their personal and academic lives and need a helping hand. It delivers therapeutic and academic interventions in outdoor, natural environments that help individuals to work through their barriers to learning and enables them to develop strategies to cope in their everyday life and, thus, re-engage with life and education.

What makes the organisation different to many other ‘alternative’ educational or therapeutic settings both locally and nationally, is the use of horses and outdoor, rural environments in their work which are introduced into sessions to create a sense of connection and participation without the negative connotations usually associated with learning or therapy. Since The Seeds of Change was established 14 years ago it has helped more than 3000 young people to re-write their life stories.

The Rural Business Awards 2019/20, in partnership with Amazon, will mark the Awards’ fifth year of celebrating the success of businesses across the UK’s rural economy – a segment which employs in excess of 3.4 million people in over 750,000 businesses in England alone. The Awards are organised by rural business for rural business with the aim of celebrating the achievements of rural businesses and developing a strong network for rural business owners.

Speaking after being shortlisted for an award, Rachael Frossell, Director and Co-Founder of The Seeds of Change said: “We are delighted to have our work recognised by these prestigious rural awards. We are a small business, however our determination to never to give up on young people, no matter their circumstance, and our passion for working outdoors with animals and nature really makes us stand out from the crowd.

“Although we are nominated in the Best Professional Services Category, we really class ourselves as a community service; one which helps young people, alongside their families and local support networks, to realise their potential and rewrite their life stories. We are incredibly proud to be representing Bedfordshire and the Eastern Region at the awards.”

Director and Co-Founder of The Rural Business Awards, Anna Price, said: “The 2019/20 Awards have seen record numbers of entries and it’s encouraging to see so many rural businesses express a desire to celebrate their successes on a regional and national scale. We are passionate about creating a nurturing environment where rural businesses can develop, and this starts by showcasing the great work they do. On behalf of everyone at the Rural Business Awards, we want to say well done to The Seeds of Change, and all the shortlisted businesses, and wish them luck ahead of the regional finals.”

The Rural Business Awards is the brainchild of Leicestershire businesswomen Anna Price and Jemma Clifford, who wanted to showcase the wealth of entrepreneurial talent in rural areas of Britain.

The Awards are organised by rural business for rural business, with winners in the 12 categories – ranging from Best Rural Start-up and Best Rural Diversification Project; through to Best Rural Professional Services Business and Rural Digital, Communications or Media Business – decided by an independent panel of judges drawn from the rural business sector, rural public sector agencies, and rural charitable organisations.

The Rural Business Awards is hosting a series of regional finals in the North, East, Midlands, South East, South West, Wales and Northern Ireland, throughout October and November 2019, ahead of the National Final next February.

To find out more about the Rural Business Awards visit www.ruralbusinessawards.co.uk