Cornhill Village Shop and Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival are the joint winners of the 2017 EBDA Award.
The Eastern Borders Development Association was responsible for attracting new industries to the eastern Borders and north Northumberland when the area’s farming and fishing industries started to decline in the 1950s and 60s and after it was wound up in 1975, some of the remaining funds were set aside for an annual cross-border award to recognise local enterprise.
At a ceremony in Berwick Town Hall last week the Mayor of Berwick, Councillor Gregah Roughhead, presented the winners with framed certificate.
Chairing the ceremony, trustee Edward Cawthorn said: “EBDA was a real Borderlands Initiative, some 70 years before the term was reinvented by government.
“The organisation achieved considerable success in stemming rural depopulation before it was wound up in 1975, when its remaining funds were used to make an annual award – the oldest of its kind in the area - to recognise local enterprise in the social and leisure fields as well as the industrial and commercial sectors.”
Reading the citation for the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival, Berwick councillor Catherine Seymour referred to the vision of its founders “to transform the town by creating cinematic spaces in the subterranean chambers and military installations that formed part of Berwick’s Elizabethan Walls”.
The inaugural festival in 2005 built on these foundations, using the fabric of the town as its screen and now commissioned a range of works that often went on from Berwick to appear in other international festivals and venues; projects, workshops and educational work which had established Berwick as a pre-eminent centre for visual arts demonstrated the town’s enthusiastic commitment to the arts in general.
Peter Taylor, director, accepted the award on behalf of the festival.
The Lord Lieutenant for Berwickshire, Jeanna Swan, read the citation for Cornhill Village Shop and Café.
“At a time when rural shops were closing by the week in the face of changing economic conditions, the owners of Cornhill Village Shop and café had ‘re-written the script’ and offered an extraordinary service to their community.
“The shop was the centre of village life, providing not only everyday essentials but also a first class bakery, delicatessen and café, as well as post office and bank agencies and a thriving take-away trade for passing customers.
“It is the hub of the village, running and supporting fund-raising initiatives, organising refreshments for events such as the Flodden ride-out, providing Christmas food hampers for the elderly and a home delivery service.
“In the face of the decline of the traditional village shop, the Cornhill initiative was a remarkable success story.”