WINNING the award for Sustainable Development delighted the chief executive of the Raptor Foundation, a charity which offers a rescue service, 24-hour care and rehabilitation facilities for injured birds of prey. I was overwhelmed, said Liz McQuillan.
WINNING the award for Sustainable Development delighted the chief executive of the Raptor Foundation, a charity which offers a rescue service, 24-hour care and rehabilitation facilities for injured birds of prey.
"I was overwhelmed," said Liz McQuillan. "Winning this award was such an achievement for everyone at the Raptor Foundation who puts time and effort into the foundation.
"Being part of these awards has been such a positive experience. And to win third place in Business of the Year was a complete shock. There is a lot of competition at that level and we were the only charity. It certainly bodes well for the future."
Anyone who has visited the Raptor Foundation at Woodhurst, just outside St Ives, can't fail to be impressed. Liz set up the Raptor Foundation in 1999 when she planted 2,000 trees to screen the birds as well as to help combat car emissions.
It has come a long way and now visitors not only enjoy seeing all the birds - the foundation is permanent home to more than 260, comprising 40 different species of raptor - but also enjoy the flying displays, courses in falconry, and ownership of birds of prey, education programme, tea room, children's party venue, gift and crafts shop, as well as bed and breakfast accommodation.
The commitment of the organisation to conservation and education, by increasing rare species of raptor and sharing information on medical treatment and rehabilitation, remains at the core of the organisation.
David Blows, maintenance manager for the foundation, said: "I think we cover every aspect of what sustainable means. Everyone who works with us, including all the volunteers, is so pleased with this award.
"We have put the award on the wall of the tea room so all the visitors can see it."
The Raptor Foundation constantly strives to promote sustainable development.
"We recycle everything we can and use local products made from wood from sustainable sources. Sustainability is our biggest area and we are very focused on it," said Liz.
She is in no doubt that winning the award has made a difference to the charity: "I really think people view us in a different way. The award has put us on the map. We won second and third in this category in previous years but now we have first. We finally got the one we wanted."
David agrees: "We have not had a slack time since winning this award - not even in the usually slower winter months. I think being in The Hunts Post helps too. It allows more people to know about what you are doing and it brings more people in."
Liz said: "I would urge anyone to enter these awards. It really is worth it.
"I would especially encourage anyone who is involved in conservation or feels that their company is doing their bit to be sustainable."
INFORMATION: The Raptor Foundation, The Heath, St Ives Road, Woodhurst. Telephone: 01487 741140 and see www.raptorfoundation.org.uk