Booths praised for helping society, environment and the struggling Lakeland hill farm industry

The Westmorland Gazette: The Herdwick Sheep The Herdwick Sheep

BOOTHS has been recognised for helping Lake District hill farmers.

The company scored three big ticks in the Responsible Business Awards.

It was acknowledged for sustainability, customer engagement on sustainability and supporting the rural economy.

The 'Big Tick' is the first level of accolade in the awards, which recognise businesses making a positive difference to society and to the environment.

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In particular, Booths has been recognised for supporting the future sustainability of hill farming in the Lake District.

Judges found it has helped create a demand and market for Herdwick lamb in its 29 stores across the North.

Hill farmers have been found to bring in an average annual income of just £6,000 and have an average age of 58, said the company.

It says that with the industry in decline, it is vital to 'improve the viability and profitability' of upland farming to encourage 'the next generation' of farmers on to the fells.

Booth sell Herdwick lamb between February and May, when it is in season and says that by creating a profitable market, it addresses both low farming incomes and offers hope for new farmers.

It says it is the only supermarket to stock Herdwick lamb and pay farmers a premium for their meat.

Edwin Booth, Chairman of Booths, said: "Booths is working to improve the viability of upland farming and ensure the future sustainability of hill farming in the Lake District.

"By providing a sustainable and viable market for Herdwick lamb – offering the farmer a premium for their goods and customers a taste of the region – we’re going some way to protecting a way of life in the hills.”

Stephen Howard, chief executive of Business in the Community, which runs the awards, said: “All year round, responsible businesses across the UK are contributing towards more resilient communities, stimulating local economies, creating diverse, skilled and healthy workforces and addressing skills shortages - yet these activities rarely get attention."

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