Charity founders and entrepreneurs from in and around Warwick and Leamington have been shortlisted for national awards

The seventh Family Network Recognition National Business Awards, which this year rewards resilience as well as excellence, attracted more than 800 nominations across the UK

Monday, 10th May 2021, 4:58 pm
The local charity finalists are Rachel Ollerenshaw, founder of Molly Olly’s Wishes (top right) in Warwick and Rachel Key, of Lifespace Trust in Stratford (shown bottom right). Photos supplied

Charity founders and entrepreneurs in south Warwickshire are among the finalists in a national awards.

The seventh Family Network Recognition National Business Awards, which this year rewards resilience as well as excellence, attracted more than 800 nominations across the UK.

The local charity finalists are: Rachel Ollerenshaw, founder of Molly Olly’s Wishes in Hatton and Rachel Key, of Lifespace Trust in Stratford.

Rachel Ollerenshaw, founder of Molly Olly’s Wishes, which is based in Hatton. Photo supplied

The county also claims three of the five finalists in the Small Business of the Year category.

They are Nikki Sayers, of Dandy Development in Leamington; Amanda Chalmers of Chalmers News PR in Warwick and Gemma Joyce of Just Dance in Stratford.

Gill Cleeve, from Stratford, is also up for Networker of the Year.

Reacting to the awards news, Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “Molly Olly’s are honoured to be named as one of the finalists in the Family Network Awards.

Rachel Key, of Lifespace Trust in Stratford. Photo supplied

"None our work would be possible without the kindness and generosity of our supporters who help us in so many ways and enable us to support children facing very challenging circumstances.

“It has been a difficult year for us all in many ways, for Molly Olly’s it has been a year when we have seen a sharp increase in demand for our services at a time when fundraising has been more difficult.

"The families that we help have needed us more than ever and whilst it is always nice to get recognition of our work, hopefully this will highlight the charity and raise awareness so that we can continue to help.”

Rachel Key, CEO at the Lifespace Trust, said: “Young people have shown incredible resilience during the last year but many have found it tough.

Amanda Chalmers of Chalmers News PR in Warwick has been named as a finalist in the Small Business of the Year category. Photo supplied

"Our mentors, with the help of the amazing staff at our partner schools, have been totally committed to staying connected with young people who need time and space with an adult they trust - by phone, email, online and face-to-face when we could.

"This nomination is a testament to the incredible team of people who work and volunteer for us.”

Gill Cleeve is a former leader of Stratford’s branch of The Family Network and owner of Brookvale First Aid.

She said: “I know how vital networking is. I have connected many businesses and people together and help them create opportunities and build relationships, this has helped their businesses survive and even thrive during the pandemic.

Gill Cleeve, from Stratford, is up for Networker of the Year. Photo supplied

"When we support small businesses, it’s not just the business we are helping but the person and the community behind it.”

The Family Network, which now boasts 22,000 members across the UK, was established 15 years ago by Laura Morris from Warwick and Victoria Alcock from Stratford.

It supports mums, dads and families in business with free networking events and affordable workshops, providing online and offline support without the need for membership fees.

The winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony on Friday, May 21.

Co-director Laura Morris added: “This year has been a very tough one for many businesses due to the pandemic but it is still absolutely amazing to see thriving businesses.

"We are always amazed at the level of the entries and this year has been no different.”

Gemma Joyce of Just Dance in Stratford has been named as a finalist in the Small Business of the Year category. Photo supplied

For more information on The Family Network go to: www.thefamilynetwork.net

Nikki Sayers, of Dandy Development in Leamington has been named as a finalist in the Small Business of the Year category. Photo supplied
The Family Network co-directors Victoria Alcock and Laura Morris. Photo supplied