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Property care franchise Countrywide Grounds Maintenance has picked up the 'Gold Award' at the Franchisor of the Year Awards. The event, hosted by the British Franchise Association (bfa) and sponsored by Express Newspapers and HSBC, took place during the bfa Annual Conference, which was held at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham on 18th June.

"It is a magnificent honour to win the bfa Franchisor of the Year Award, it is also testament to the hard work and dedication of all the head office support staff and franchise owners," said the company's Managing Director Simon Stott. "We have developed new and exciting initiatives over the last 18 months with our franchise owners to ensure that Countrywide Grounds Maintenance remains the market leader and the business drives its turnover and profitability forward during these challenging times."

Sir Bernard Ingham, President of the bfa and Chairman of the judges for the awards, added: "Franchisors today are under many pressures. They hold in their hands the livelihoods of many individual business owners and the means to secure their future demands, foresight, acumen and investment. This year the awards were conducted during a very difficult economic climate and the winner, Countrywide Grounds Maintenance, has clearly demonstrated that the work it is doing will ensure the future success of its business."

TaxAssist Accountants picked up the 'Silver Award' at the event, while food delivery brand Wiltshire Farm Foods earned the 'Bronze Award'. This marks the second year running that TaxAssist Accountants has taken home the silver gong. The company's Business Development Director Sarah Robertson commented: "We are delighted to have received the silver award. A prestigious award such as this sends out a clear message to our existing franchise owners, staff and potential recruits that TaxAssist Accountants is fully committed to supporting the growth of our franchise owners."

Also announced at the event were the winners of the Express Newspapers Brand Builder of the Year: lawn maintenance franchise Green Thumb, and the HSBC Award for Enterprise: care in the home franchise Home Instead Senior Care.

"Green Thumb, has shown real credence and has successfully built a reputable brand within the franchise industry over the last 12 months," said Express Newspapers Advertising Group Head Geraldine Haenow. "Through ambitious planning and successful promotion Green Thumb has constructed a reliable platform for success and I'm sure this will accelerate its business to tackle the current unstable economic market head on."

Green Thumb managing director Jeff Williams reflected: "Winning the brand builder category is a tremendous honour. It's the icing on the cake following the culmination of a huge amount of hard work from everyone involved with Green Thumb, from head office staff through to our 180 plus franchise owners that have helped shape, not just the Green Thumb brand, but the lawn service industry in the UK."

Presenting Home Instead Senior Care with their award, HSBC Head of Franchising Cathryn Hayes said: "The HSBC Award for Enterprise finalists stand out from the crowd as franchisors. However the winner, Home Instead Senior Care, has clearly developed creative business strategies to overcome some tough challenges, which otherwise would have hindered growth and development."

Home Instead Senior Care Managing Director Trevor Brocklebank added: "Winning this award is a superb endorsement of all we have achieved and a huge motivator to everyone within our businesses, they have worked immensely hard to create the successful business we are today and it is fantastic to see this publicly recognised."


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