A POPULAR Venue at Ennerdale has won a prestigious prize in the Countryside Alliance awards.

The Gather a community-owned and run café and shop in Ennerdale Bridge, West Cumbria was crowned regional winner in the Rural Enterprise category.

In describing ‘The Gather’, the judge noted: “The Gather provides a welcoming meeting place for locals and visitors alike. With over 50 volunteers manning the shop, cafe and events space, there are plenty of chances to engage and enjoy the community they are part of.”

Copeland MP Trudy Harrison said: “A huge congratulations to the team at The Gather in Ennerdale Bridge for securing this award and regional title. The Countryside Alliance awards are a great way of recognising local businesses that go the extra mile for their community and it’s clear from the rigorous judging process that The Gather has well and truly earned its title.”

Countryside Alliance Awards Director Sarah Lee commented: “This year’s regional finalists are all truly exceptional. We have been overwhelmed by nominations this year. The secret to the Rural Oscars’ popularity is that they honour the people involved in these businesses and not just their produce or services. They exist to sing the praises of those who work hard to keep our communities and rural economy ticking, but don’t seek the spotlight. These awards provide a cause for celebration in a time of great uncertainty in the countryside. Our local produce is second to none and there are many community heroes and businesses worthy of national recognition.”