Martin Whitfield MSP is encouraging businesses, groups and individuals to nominate themselves or others for a prestigious rural award.

The Helping it Happen Awards, hosted by Scottish Land & Estates and sponsored by NatureScot, celebrate examples of rural success.

Estates, farms, rural businesses, individuals, community groups, charities and projects can all be nominated for awards which focus on the key role they play in helping the Scottish countryside to thrive.

Seven years since their inception, the Helping It Happen awards have become one of the leading rural accolades in Scotland.

This year’s awards have a revamped set of categories, with two new additional award categories. The Award for Outstanding Contribution to Rural Scotland, the first of two new categories, aims to celebrate those who have spent their lives working in and for Scotland’s countryside.

Meanwhile, the Rural Rising Star Award is designed to shine a light on those who have achieved success through determination and growth, making themselves ones to watch in the rural sector.

Encouraging South Scotland constituents to nominate, Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“I’m delighted to support these prestigious awards and hope that groups or individuals from South Scotland will enter and receive the recognition they deserve.

“In the course of my work representing the region, I’m fortunate to meet countless people doing really valuable work, supporting people, nature, communities, jobs and industries. However, all too often their efforts go unrecognised.

“The Helping It Happen Awards are a chance to help change that and celebrate those working in and for Scotland’s countryside. I encourage anyone who thinks they, or someone they know, is worthy of this kind of recognition to nominate now.”

Sarah-Jane Laing, Chief Executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said:

“SLE’s Helping it Happen Awards seeks to highlight the vital contributions made by land-based businesses, organisations and individuals to their communities across rural Scotland and I’m excited to be launching the nomination process for 2023.

“Whether it be helping the environment and nature, supporting employment and the local economy or undertaking crucial work across sectors such as farming, housing or education, these awards have celebrate the impact that many unsung heroes provide to society.

“Once again we would urge people from all over Scotland to submit their nominations for this year’s awards. We were delighted with the quantity and quality of entries last year and I await this year’s crop of nominations with great anticipation. Going by previous years, I know our judging panel will have a difficult task ahead of them when it comes to selecting our finalists.”

Claudia Rowse, Deputy Director- Green Economy at NatureScot said:

“The Helping It Happen Awards are a great way to recognise the rural businesses which are leading the way in Scotland, helping their communities and nature to flourish and doing their part to tackle the nature loss and climate change crises. We would welcome entries from farms, estates and businesses whose work restoring nature has played a key role in their success and resilience, giving us inspiration for the future.”

Nominations must be submitted via the Scottish Land & Estates website at by the deadline of 30 June with judging taking place shortly after.

The awards are open to all rural organisations and businesses, not just members of Scottish Land & Estates. A gala awards ceremony, where the 2023 winners will be announced, will be held in Edinburgh in October.