Hudson Hirsel wins national Helping It Happen award



Scottish Borders-based Hudson Hirsel has scooped a surprise ‘Judges’ Special Award’ in the national Helping it Happen Awards for its outstanding work in house building in rural Scotland.

Now in its fourth year, the Helping It Happen Awards have become firmly established in recognising the role of estates, farms, and businesses who are helping rural Scotland thrive. The awards are organised by rural business organisation Scottish Land & Estates and sponsored by GLM.

This is the first time since the Helping it Happen Awards began that the judges have given a special award. They felt that Hudson Hirsel was a fantastic example of the landowner working with the community.

The judges were impressed with how the business is challenging the status quo in housing and stated that how Hudson Hirsel do things should be the model for how to build homes.

Hudson Hirsel employs as many organisations and individuals as possible from the Scottish Borders, thereby ensuring local employment and boosting the local economy.

They also build affordable housing and have worked with the local council to deliver a bespoke approach.

Douglas and Angus Estates successfully obtained an allocation for houses on the edge of their Hirsel Estate in Coldstream. However, given the recession of 2008, and its aftermath, it was clear that local and national housebuilders had little or no appetite to obtain land for the large-scale development in more rural parts of Scotland.

Therefore, Douglas and Angus explored the viability of diversifying their operations and developing some of their estate “in-house”. They teamed up with Jamie Hudson, a surveyor to trade, to establish a new housing company and in 2010 Hudson Hirsel LLP was incorporated. After ten years of operation, Hudson Hirsel has evolved into a successful award-winning house builder in Berwickshire with a multi-million-pound turnover.

Sarah-Jane Laing, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “I want to offer my congratulations to Hudson Hirsel for being awarded our first ever Judges’ Special Award. They have made a considerable contribution to rural Scotland, as have all the winners in the other awards categories.

“With everything that has happened in 2020, the Helping It Happen Awards quite rightly celebrate those individuals, businesses and estates going the extra mile to make a positive contribution to society whether that’s by providing high quality homes, supporting their local community or helping Scotland meet its environmental goals. This contribution is crucial to ensure that Scotland has a successful recovery from the COVID pandemic.”

Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, added: “Throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, vital work has been undertaken across rural Scotland to adapt and help sustain our rural economy and our communities and this effort cannot be underestimated. Diversity is important to our rural economy, that’s why we’re committed to supporting an inclusive, sustainable and green economic recovery plan to help rural and island communities recover and thrive. In the coming weeks and months we need to continue to work together to reduce the spread of the virus in our communities.

“It’s great that Scottish Land & Estates has moved their Helping it Happen awards online. This gives us the opportunity to be able to recognise all of the businesses and organisations that have demonstrated their commitment to making a difference for our nation, in conservation, environment, innovation, rural business or through supporting their local community.”

Ian McKee, managing director of headline sponsor GLM, commented: “GLM are delighted to be the headline sponsor of these awards in what has been an unusual and challenging year particularly for rural Scotland. Telling stories and celebrating all that is going on across rural Scotland is key to motivating and inspiring others to support, visit and encourage the activity. It is a privilege to support these awards and celebrate the extensive innovation, conservation and resilience shown particularly in the last few months through the Covid-19 pandemic. Huge congratulations to all of the award winners and finalists.”

This year, there are 12 awards in total, with six award categories complemented by community champion awards across five Scottish regions as well as a judges’ special award. A full list of the winners is shown below with full details attached.

The winners were announced via a video premiered on YouTube at noon on September 30.



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