Sherwood Energy Village at Ollerton in Nottinghamshire has won the first Enterprising Britain Competition, which was launched by the DTI and the Treasury last year to highlight the most enterprising places in the country. Ollerton, a former mining area, beat 11 other regional finalists to take the award.The Energy Village scheme was devised by the local community to tackle the devastating social and economic effects of the closure in 1994 of the colliery and the subsequent loss of the town’s textile factories. The project, which is supported by the East Midlands Development Agency, has helped to rebuild and diversify Ollerton’s economic base to ensure it is never again reliant on a single market sector.
The competition is designed to find the towns, cities or areas of the country that are improving economic prospects and encouraging enterprise. The other finalists, all nominated by their regional development agencies, were West Lothian, South Tyneside, Leeds, Blackburn, Newport in South Wales, Shrewsbury, the Waveney district of Suffolk, Belfast, Slough, Exeter and Hatton Garden in London. The entrants are judged on their contribution to business, employment, social inclusion, regeneration, education and their ability to generate enterprise through public-private partnerships.
Stan Crawford, the Managing Director of the Ollerton scheme said the Energy Village would end up employing more people than the old mine did with 1,500 jobs in 2007 compared with a 1,000 in the colliery’s heyday. “This is a prime example of how people can come together not just to ensure the existence of a community but to enhance its profile in the long term,” he added.