Avon Dassett Soapbox Derby named finalist for national award

Megan Taplin who won the juniors category for the 2019 Avon Dassett Soap Box Derby
Megan Taplin who won the juniors category for the 2019 Avon Dassett Soap Box Derby

The Avon Dassett Soapbox Derby has been named one of the finalists for a national award to recognise some of the most inspiring community businesses in the UK.

Avon Dassett Soapbox Derby has been named one of the finalists for a national award to recognise some of the most inspiring community businesses in the UK.

The Soapbox Derby was revived in 2018 and attracts scores of intrepid drivers braving the challenging downhill course.

As well as providing spectacular family entertainment the Soapbox Derby raises money for local charities. The Soapbox Derby team are all volunteers from the local community.

The Avon Dassett Soapbox team is thrilled and privileged to have been nominated for this award by the Avon Dassett Community Benefit Society.

Sarah Richardson, a member of the organising group, said, ‘Our whole team are thrilled with the news that we have been named as finalists for this prestigious national award. The Soapbox Derby brings thousands of people to Avon Dassett and it is a unique and much-loved event.’

The 2019 Avon Dassett Soap Box Derby took place on June 22, and raised more than £1,400 for charity.

The race raised £777.32 for Zoe’s Baby Place Hospice in Coventry, £500 for Fenny Compton Explorers, and £200 for Fenny Compton Church Roof Fund. All costs were covered by entry fees, sponsorship and grants with all donations from the public going directly to the charities and local groups.

The winner of the juniors category went to Megan Taplin, from Avon Dassett, with the BDS Bullet.

The community’s work is now being recognised by national charity the Plunkett Foundation – an organisation which supports rural communities across the UK to tackle the issues they face through community business.

The Avon Dassett Soapbox Derby is one of three finalists in the ‘Community Story of the Year’ award which recognises how community businesses provide extra support and services to local people. The award is sponsored by Triodos Bank.

Twenty one community business across the UK have been shortlisted for the 2019 Rural Community Business Awards. Finalists range from farms and pubs to cafés, shops and a woodland.

James Alcock, chief executive of the Plunkett Foundation, said: “Each and every one of the finalists are great examples of people working together to make life in their own community better. Community businesses in rural areas can be a lifeline to the people they serve. The issues of isolation and loss of amenities are well known and these awards show that community businesses – of many different kinds – do so much as they tackle these issues.

“Community businesses are breathing new life into rural communities across the UK and it an enormous pleasure for the Plunkett Foundation to be able to celebrate some of the outstanding individual stories with these awards.”

The Plunkett Foundation is marking its centenary year.

Since 2013 the charity has been recognising community businesses with their annual awards.

This year the awards feature seven categories – all of which celebrate the achievements of groups across the country who have come together in community organisations and found the answer to the challenges they face through community businesses.

The awards are sponsored by the Hastoe Housing Association, who specialise in providing sustainable, affordable homes to enable local people to remain within their communities.

George Parkinson, the operations director at the Hastoe Housing Association, said: “As England’s leading provider of affordable rural homes, we know there is much more to creating communities than just building homes. Community businesses often provide the only opportunity for people living in rural areas to come together. In providing work, volunteering opportunities and much needed services, they create the conditions for communities to thrive.

“These awards play a vital role in recognising many of the great projects, businesses and people who continue to make a positive difference in their community.”

The awards are being presented in partnership with Power to Change – the independent trust that supports community businesses in England – and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation which supports organisations that are building an inclusive, creative and sustainable society.

The awards ceremony will be held at on Wednesday November 27 at Burlington House in London.

Winners will take away a cheque for £250.