Last Friday 100 of Gloucestershire’s biggest movers and shakers in the business of happy families assembled at Stonehouse Court Hotel to raise a shed load of money for Sue Ryder, Leckhampton Court Hospice and to celebrate all that is fabulous in our town for families.
The event came about after a very generous benefactor donated the use of the hotel and a significant event budget to the charity. They approached me to see what I could make of it and the result was the Gloucestershire Family Awards!
62 organisations, businesses and individuals were nominated by the public in September and whittled down to the 31 finalists in October. In half term a panel of ten judges (myself not included – I did not judge) met at Sue Ryder to decide the winners. The group consisted of representatives from each of our sponsors, hospice staff and mums who were volunteering on the event.
Early evening the guests assembled for a champagne reception. With a Photo Booth provided by local photographer Little Cheltenham guests could ensure they were captured in their finery – me included!
The doors then opened through to the main dining room. The event had been styled by the Sue Ryder event team and the marvellous Louise (The Cotswold Event Planner) with the help of items loaned from the House of Bunting and Dee Campling. Each seat held a programme of events kindly designed by Ellie Veale Graphic Design a copy of which you can download here. ProgrammeGFA2017 PRINT
The ceremony began with some words on just what the funds raised would be used for from Elise Hoadley, Hospice Director at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court and a brief word from Gavin Roberts, Junior School Headmaster at the chief sponsor of the awards, the wonderful Rendcomb College. With the average age of patient being cared for at Sue Ryder just 45 there was a real synergy between the charity and the attendees who, led by Gavin and the Rendcomb staff, all strive to make the lives of families fuller, better and easier.
The first three awards were then presented.
The winner of award one – Gloucestershire’s Most Family Friendly Employer was sponsored by Spirax Sarco but presented by Gavin Roberts of Rendcomb College.
The winner was Supergroup. Cheltenham based company Supergroup are proud of their time away from work policy and staff at their Cheltenham head office don’t have fixed start or finish times. Flexibility is key and the families of staff are welcomed at the annual Summerfest get together to thank them for their commitment to the company.
A whole table of Supergroup staff members were in attendance to collect the award.
Toddington Nursery School was highly commended in this category.
The winner of award two – Gloucestershire’s Most Family Friendly Retailer was sponsored by Factory Pattern and presented by owners Georgina and Andrew Thorne.
The winner was The Willow Tree.
22 year old owner Amber Turnbull recognises that quality time with the family is always a priority to their customers. Young children are welcomed into the shop or to attend workshops alongside their parents or to come to their regular family craft mornings. Amber has also opened up the shop to other businesses to provide an array of family focused events and learning sessions such as hypnobirthing, family nutrition and child development classes.
Amber collected the award.
Carousel was highly commended in this category.
The winner of award three – Gloucestershire’s Most Family Friendly Eatery was sponsored by Alanbrookes Accountants and presented by Carolyn Downes and Megan John.
The winner was School House Cafe.
A community focused cafe in Cheltenham which values fresh and wholesome food and drink. provides a play area and overflow buggy space for families and run ‘Jigsaw’ – a fresh hope project for families to receive support, conversation and access to toys to keep everyone entertained.
The award was collected by Maddie Hall and Emma Harris.
Guests then enjoyed a three course meal and many snapped up a raffle ticket in aid of Sue Ryder with tickets including a Mulberry wallet and coin purse, a £100 Koj voucher, a £100 Cheltenham Festivals voucher, three hours of personal training with Fit Inside Out, a voucher for Earls and Co and much much more.
The ceremony recommenced with category four.
The winner of award four – Gloucestershire’s Best Pregnancy Support Service was presented by Emma Heathcote James of The Little Soap Company who kindly offered all guests a natural bar of soap to take home.
The winner was The Bump to Baby Chapter
Owner Beth prides herself on having created an on and offline community or tribe of pregnant mothers centred around antenatal and hypnobirthing classes, a blog and free events that gives expectant couples the gift of knowledge but also helps them to feel in control, empowered to make their own choices and to look at birth in a positive way.
Beth collected the award.
Stroud Maternity Unit was highly commended in this category.
The winner of award five – Gloucestershire’s Best Baby/Toddler Class or Event was presented by Elise Hoadley, Director of Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.
The winner was Tatty Bumpkin (pictured below when she won a second award!)
A franchise operated by Andrea Warner Tatty is a family yoga class where mums and carers can enjoy bonding time with their little one being gently led through activities and learn how they can support their child’s development whilst having fun in a safe, non competitive environment with steps taken to ensure they can stay on afterwards for much needed chat and socialisation with like minded parents and carers.
Highly Commended in this category was Babel Babies – the team of which are pictured below.
The winner of award six – Gloucestershire’s Best Mum Recovery Service was presented by Sophie Clemments of Fiona Reece PR.
The winner was Gloucestershire Breastfeeding Support Network.
Gloucestershire Breastfeeding Support Network is a small, local charity run by a group of committed volunteers offering 7 weekly breastfeeding support groups across the county. Run by mums for mums this group gives information, support and encouragement to families at any stage of their breastfeeding journey.
The award was collected by Lucy De Mello (Charity Trustee) pictured here with former Chair of the charity and friend Nicole Hastie.
The winner of award seven – Gloucestershire’s Most Family Focused Community Champion was presented by Dragana Hartley of Cheltenham Ladies College.
The winner was the team Gloucestershire Bundles who sadly were unable to attend on the evening.
Gloucestershire Bundles is registered charity run by a small dedicated group of volunteers to ensure that no child should go without the basic requirements of clothes, shoes, somewhere safe to sleep with warm bedding, books, toys and items of personal hygiene. Bundles are collected and distributed via referral to those on living in poverty for various reasons across the county.
Highly Commended in this category was Laura Smith of Cheltenham Rocks.
The final award was the only award I had any influence over the outcome on – in fact I was able to decide it all by myself!
I chose the winner of winners, Gloucestershire’s Family Fairy Godmother based on the overwhelming evidence that everything she does really is making a huge difference to the families of our county. In her submission she wrote..
‘I do it because I want to make a difference. Because I’ve been where so many of my Mums are…. post natal depression was a my companion for two years after the birth of my little one. I know I wasn’t on my own and I’m still not. The 400 mums that we see a week are in the same boat so together we have built this community of support. Providing confidence; bringing purpose to play and supporting little ones development. When mums go back to work we see grandparents. Where we hear that Dads are struggling we encourage them to come to classes too.. we do what we do to build that family unit where a baby can thrive.’
The ceremony was followed by fun, frolics and dancing for those who chose to stay on! Ross from Generation Events kept people on the dance floor with some classic party tunes.
The final confirmed fundraising total for the night is a massive £6128. Huge thanks to everyone who nominated, voted, donated, attended, presented, sponsored and was involved in any way shape or form!
Here’s a collection of some of the pics I’ve found on social media – as always happens at these things I was having too much fun to take pics! If you have any more send them my way and I can add them in!
I’m just really proud to have been involved with something so special – so thanks again.