Media Release: Nominations open for new ‘Helping it Happen’ rural awards

Grant Conchie of Douglas & Angus Estates, David Johnstone, and John Gold of Scrib Tree (2)

COMMUNITIES, businesses and individuals across Scotland are being asked for nominations for new rural awards celebrating estates and landowners that help their local region to flourish.

Scottish Land & Estates has today launched the inaugural ‘Helping it Happen’ awards, which will recognise landowners and rural businesses that play a key role in enabling and supporting success in rural areas.

The new awards were unveiled at The Scrib Tree Café in Douglas, South Lanarkshire – a business that has benefited from the help of their local estate.

Now celebrating their fifth year, The Scrib Tree was previously a derelict coal yard. With the support and financial help of Douglas & Angus Estates, chef, John Gold, restored the site and went on to create a hospitality outlet that acts as a focal point for the local community.

This partnership led to the provision of jobs for local people throughout the 12-month construction period, with ten people now employed by the café on an ongoing basis.

The Scrib Tree’s opening led to the visual enhancement of the heart of village, as well as the creation of two other new local businesses. This means enhanced facilities to attract visitors and increased revenue to the rural economy through a business that heavily promotes local produce.

For the new awards – which are to be sponsored by The MacRobert Trust – people are being asked to share how their local estate or rural business has helped their community via the Helping it Happen website –

Those nominating can tell how their area has benefitted from the involvement of land-based businesses, and also view case studies from other regions across Scotland.

Once the submissions close in early April, an independent judging panel will sift through the award nominations before deciding the winners across six categories: rural business, tourism, rural housing, working with communities, conservation, and eco business.

An awards night will be held in Edinburgh on May 30, 2017, which follows Scottish Land & Estates’ annual spring conference being held at the Assembly Rooms on the same day.

The awards have been supported by Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing.

Mr Ewing said: “Helping rural communities and businesses succeed is a priority for this government and that is why it is great to see a new platform to recognise people who are working hard to help their local economy grow.

“I am, therefore, pleased to be supporting the inaugural Helping it Happen awards, which recognise individuals and rural businesses that play a key role in enabling and supporting success in rural areas.”

John Gold, from The Scrib Tree Café, said: “We are really thankful to Douglas & Angus Estates for their efforts in establishing The Scrib Tree. The estate was committed to facilitating this development and their assistance has allowed us to achieve our ambitions for the business and for creating a venue that is valued by the local community.

“We are positive about the future for Douglas and it is great that the estate is determined to help the community wherever it can.”

David Johnstone, chair of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “Helping It Happen is an initiative to showcase examples of the positive contributions being made by rural businesses and landowners across Scotland.

“The launch of the awards is to allow individuals, communities and businesses to have their say on how their local estate or rural business has helped their area to flourish, as we have seen in the partnership between Douglas & Angus Estates and The Scrib Tree.

“The estate played a significant role in getting The Scrib Tree off the ground and it has had a major impact on the village of Douglas.

“For many years, it had been noticeable that town centre had been suffering. Now, when you drive through the village, you are welcomed by a building that is sympathetic to its historic environment, right at the heart of the community which exudes confidence and an air of attention to detail and care.

“In 2014, Scottish Land & Estates unveiled its Landowners’ Commitment with a clear undertaking to be open, inclusive, enabling and responsible. The Scrib Tree a perfect example of how an estate can use its position to dramatically benefit a local community.”


For further information:

Gary McQueen

Media House

0141 220 6040 /

About Helping It Happen

The Helping it Happen campaign aims to highlight how landowners and rural businesses across Scotland play a key role in enabling and supporting success in rural areas. This campaign provides case studies covering a diverse range of sectors, including examples such as providing affordable rural housing, the development of renewable energy schemes and partnerships with local schools to deliver rural skills qualifications.

For more information, visit

Nominations for the Helping it Happen National Awards 2017 open in March. To nominate, visit the Helping it Happen website with details of why your local estate or landowner has helped your local community.

About Scottish Land & Estates

Scottish Land & Estates is a membership organisation for landowners, rural businesses and rural professionals.

Scottish Land & Estates promotes the wide range of benefits land-based businesses provide: the tourist attractions, leisure facilities and landscapes enjoyed by the public, as well as, housing, employment, tourism and enterprise and farming opportunities.

For more information, visit

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