Cumbria park is UK’s ethical business of year

Henry and Hannah Wild (centre) with (left) awards host and entrepreneur Tim Campbell MBE who was hired by Lord Alan Sugar in the first series of The Apprentice, and James Frost, chief marketing officer of Worldpay UK

Henry and Hannah Wild (centre) with (left) awards host and entrepreneur Tim Campbell MBE who was hired by Lord Alan Sugar in the first series of The Apprentice, and James Frost, chief marketing officer of Worldpay UK

Skelwith Fold caravan park in Cumbria has been crowned as Britain’s ethical business of the year in the Federation of Small Businesses and Worldpay UK Business Awards 2017.

The family-run park in Ambleside was announced as the overall national winner in the “ethical business” category at the award finals in London in May.

Stepping up to receive the congratulations of judges at the glittering ceremony at Shakespeare’s Globe was park owner and former BH&HPA chairman Henry Wild and his wife Hannah.

In an address to guests and judges, Henry said the accolade was also a tribute to the parks sector as a whole which for decades had put ethical management at the core of its business philosophy.

Skelwith Fold earlier this year triumphed in the North West heats of the awards, and was up against other competing firms from across the UK in a closely-fought contest.

The national title was awarded after judges made a close scrutiny of how the park was successfully integrating ethics into its business culture across a range of criteria.

The 130-acre grounds of the holiday park are heavily wooded

Green initiatives abound in the 130-acres of Skelwith Fold

Skelwith Fold, they said, is an inspiration to all small enterprises – and especially when it comes to protecting the environment and adopting forward-looking green policies,

The company is owned by the Wild family, and Henry Wild said the national honour was a fantastic achievement for the park which they acquired just over 20 years ago.

Skelwith Fold occupies the once-neglected 130-acre grounds of a former country house, and is now teaming with wildlife thanks to the conservation work of Henry and his father Syd.

The park attracts red squirrels, red and roe deer, and a huge number of bird species, and has many high pollen-bearing plants on which honey bees and butterflies can forage.

There is a wetland reedbed system for the treatment of waste water, and Skelwith also helps to keep alive traditional countryside skills, including hedge-laying, coppicing and dry stone walling.

Henry says the Federation’s award is a tribute to the tourism sector which Skelwith represents:

“In many ways, our business reflects the values of the parks industry as a whole which is largely made up of smaller, family-run enterprises built up over successive generations,” he said.

“They have a genuine and deep-rooted concern for their staff, their customers, and the natural world – and are keen to pass on this ethos to the next family owners.

“Ethical business management, in my opinion, is simply about having respect for the people around you, and the natural environment which gives so much pleasure to everyone,” he added.

Earlier this year, Henry stepped down from his two-year term as national chairman of BH&HPA to which around 3000 UK parks belong.

As well as the national winner’s trophy, Skelwith Fold also received £2,000 in prize money.

The cash, said Henry, will provide a donation of £1000 each to two local good causes long supported by Skelwith Fold: the Great North Air Ambulance Service, and Nurture Lakeland.

Skelwith Fold provides caravan holiday homes for private owners plus pitches for people with touring caravans and motorhomes, and also luxurious “glamping pods” for hire.

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