Astounding enterprises celebrated in style at the 2011 Daily Echo-backed Dorset Business Awards Gala Dinner on Thursday November 24.

Businesses from across the region were honoured in nine award categories in front of an audience of more than 500 guests watching the glittering ceremony, hosted by actress and comedian Debra Stephenson, at the Poole Lighthouse.

Organised by Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry and also supported by Wave 105 and the Dorset Echo, the Dorset Business Awards have become the largest of its type in the county, and the awards ceremony is a major feature on the county’s annual business calendar.

Peter Scott, chief executive of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “All winners of this year’s Dorset Business Awards have demonstrated something really special – a spark of brilliance that means they are able to stand out from the crowd and outperform their competitors. It has been a challenging year for business, however the excellence demonstrated by the award winners highlight that our county’s business community can thrive and help drive the economy forward. We’d like to congratulate the winners and hope to see their continued success.”

The winners are as follows:

Best Employer for a Healthy Workplace Award, sponsored by Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital


  • BH Live, Bournemouth  
  • Ceuta Healthcare, Bournemouth
  • Organix Brands Ltd, Bournemouth

Winner: Ceuta Healthcare, Bournemouth

Judges’ comment: Providing a healthy workplace has been an integral part of Ceuta’s business and culture and the management team has implemented a series of health and well-being workplace initiatives. From an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) providing emotional support, fitness and medical advice and financial guidance to cycle to work schemes and a host of other health initiatives, the firm has been able to attract, engage and retain staff as a result.  The firm’s healthy workplace initiatives have led to better staff retention, reduced sickness and a willingness to work together through staff forums which have all resulted in the acknowledgement that Ceuta Healthcare is recognised as the best employer for a healthy workplace.

Business Engagement with the Community Award, sponsored by Morgan Sindall


  • AFC Bournemouth, Bournemouth
  • Dike & Son Ltd, Stalbridge
  • Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy, Portland

Winner: Dike & Son Ltd, Stalbridge

Judges’ comment: The judges were impressed by the number of different community initiatives the company has introduced.  Dike & Son Ltd has dedicated time and effort to bringing the community together through barbeques, cream teas and other themed events through the year.  Significantly, the company has demonstrated its commitment to the community by rallying round other local businesses to ensure the car park in the town remains free to use and making a substantial donation themselves. The store really is an integral part of the community with the staff going beyond the call of duty to engage the community locally.

Dorset Tourism Award, sponsored by Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Liz Lean PR


  • Christchurch Harbour Hotel & Spa, Christchurch
  • Hoburne Holiday Parks, Highcliffe
  • Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre, Wareham

Winner: Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre, Wareham

Judges’ comment: To use the much-overused word, Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre really is unique, and in the 20-plus years of its existence has grown to almost occupy all 65 acres of its site.  With an affordable ticket price, and open 364 days-a-year, visitors are supported by a highly-knowledgeable, patient and caring team of guides. Offering an enjoyable and educational experience for all ages, and from individuals to families to school groups, visitors have access to seeing first-hand and understanding some of the world’s most endangered and persecuted species of primates. Comprehensive foreign-language materials, and a welcoming cafeteria and gift shop, round-off an experience which encourages return visitors, many of whom become long-term supporters of Monkey World.

Engineering and Electrical Apprenticeship Award sponsored by Superior


  • Andrew Wall, Cobham Plc, Wimborne
  • Jack Ingram, Hamworthy Combustion, Poole
  • Thomas McMillan, TNA Europe, Wareham

Winner: Apprentice Jack Ingram, Hamworthy Combustion, Poole

Judges’ comment: With the support of his training provider, Bournemouth and Poole College, Jack Ingram is currently working with Hamworthy Combustion to complete a four-year engineering apprenticeship programme. Jack’s commitment to both work in the company and his college studies have been of the highest order from the day he began his apprenticeship.  He is rapidly gaining a respect and reputation within the workplace for excellent performance whilst in company departments.  His obvious dedication and pride in his apprenticeship was the reason that Jack impressed the judges and we are proud to name him as the worthy winner of the first Engineering and Electrical Apprenticeship award.

Entrepreneur of the Year, sponsored by Bournemouth University


  • Adido Limited, Bournemouth
  • Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, Christchurch
  • Volsen Limited, Bournemouth

Winner: Adido Limited, Bournemouth

Judges’ comment: In 2008 the team experienced first-hand the reality of what a recession represented for a young, growing business. Without the realisation that the business needed to change to survive Adido would not have survived.  Being entrepreneurial and having the foresight to change, and acknowledging that their biggest asset is their staff, put them in a position of strength which has enabled them to grow exponentially, and they now employ 22 staff.  Their entrepreneurial vision, togetherness and commitment to the business demonstrated to the judging panel that they are proud advocates of working and living in Dorset which for us was the icing on the cake!

KPMG Company of the Year Award        

  • Dorset Orthopaedic Ltd, Ringwood
  • Hoburne Holiday Parks, Highcliffe
  • Organix Brands Ltd, Bournemouth

Winner: Hoburne Holiday Parks, Highcliffe

Judges’ comment: Hoburne is a family business, now run by the fourth generation of the same family, with an impressive track record of success.  With a clear focus on good quality facilities, accommodation, service and continually striving to invest in its product, the company has flourished (with pre-tax profits in excess of £3million for the last three years and capital investment of more than £10million in the same period).  The strength of its business model has seen it buck industry trends to achieve increased bookings, despite a recession. Hoburne will celebrate its centenary next year, making it the oldest holiday park company in the UK, which is in itself a tremendous achievement.  In our opinion the company is a shining example of a thriving local business.

Linking with Schools Award, sponsored by J.P. Morgan

  • Keith Motors, Christchurch,  linked to Twynham School, Christchurch
  • Redweb, Bournemouth, linked to Avonbourne School, Bournemouth
  • The Tank Museum, Wareham, linked to Bovington Middle School, Wareham

Winner: Redweb nominated by Avonbourne School

Judges’ comment: Redweb’s partnership with Avonbourne School has helped students achieve ambitious goals and win awards. With guidance from the company the students aimed to fight digital exclusion, help the local community, build confidence of elderly internet surfers, develop enterprise skills of volunteers and roll out the model across the UK. The programme was entitled digi steps, making technology simple. The results have been nothing short of staggering. Avonbourne School were selected in the top five schools in the UK for the British Interactive Media Association School Challenge and were the youngest entrants to present at Channel 4 in London. With support from Redweb, students have also been involved in other projects which have resulted in them gaining new skills.

NatWest Excellence in Customer Service Award

  • BCHA, Bournemouth
  • Canford Chase (Colten Care), Poole
  • Urban Beach Hotel, Bournemouth

Winner: BCHA, Bournemouth

Judges’ comment: BCHA is a not-for-profit specialist housing and social care provider based in Bournemouth. It offers a wide range of help and support to people in vulnerable circumstances and to professionals trying to equip those in need.  BCHA is a worthy winner of this Award due to the company’s robust customer service standards.  As a result of these standards, BCHA continually strives to improve the service that it provides, with regular customer surveys, customer forums and accessible support staff. In their award entry – including customer and service user consultation – the company demonstrated all the required key attributes to win this award.

Princecroft Willis Family Business Award

  • Dike & Son Ltd, Stalbridge
  • Groves Nurseries, Bridport
  • Tapper Funeral Service, Poole

Winner: Dike & Son Ltd, Stalbridge

Judges’ comment: Founded in 1851 as grocers and bakers, the Dike family has developed the business into the largest independent supermarket in the south selling produce from more than 100 Dorset-based growers, makers and bakers.  Now in the hands of the fifth generation, there are currently two generations involved in the business – Deirdre Dike as Company Secretary and her son Andy Dike as Managing Director, who has worked in the shop from a very early age.  Andy recognises that much of the success is due to the foresight of his late-father William, who took over the reins in 1962, developing the business from a high street shop to a superstore which still retains its family and community values.  This really is a success story and a worthy winner.

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