The team at the National Self Build & Renovation Centre in Swindon won a national business award for their achievements during the pandemic.

The NSBRC is based at Junction 16 of the M4 and has been honoured with the Employee Ownership Association’s award for ‘Business Resilience’ after being voted as the winner from a short list of 13 companies.

Staff submitted a written story as part of a celebration of the exceptional stories of employee-owned businesses and the challenges they have faced over the last 18 months.

Managing director Harvey Fremlin said: "As soon as the prime minister instructed the nation to stay at home, we realised the pandemic would have a fundamental impact on our business.

"It left us with some daunting questions to answer. How could we run a national visitor centre with no visitors and how to do that from our own kitchens or hastily made home-offices?

“We had previously taken on the business following a period of adversity and have made a great success of things in recent years, so I was confident that we would be able to overcome the challenge of the pandemic.

"What I perhaps under-estimated, was the sheer energy, tenacity and passion that my colleagues displayed to ensure that not only did we survive, but indeed thrived, and we now have new products and an enhanced offering for our visitors and exhibitors.

"I am absolutely thrilled, on behalf of all the team, to win this award and it is particularly special as it was voted on by our peers”.

Businesses of all sizes wrote about how their focus on their people has supported employee health and wellbeing, helped the business adapt and delivered benefit for multiple stakeholders.

Thousands of votes were cast as part of an EO Stories competition, before the final winners were announced yesterday during the EOA’s annual conference.

Chief executive Deb Oxley OBE said: “We are delighted for NSBRC that their story of business resilience was voted for by their peers. This shows how the trust that has been built up in the business by leveraging the strengths they have developed through being employee owned.

"They quickly adapted their offer from being an exhibition venue almost totally reliant on in person activity to seeking out ways to offer customer value digitally.

"The willingness of its employee owners to take on significantly different roles to support the business through this period has clearly resonated those who have voted – we wish the team well with all future opportunities this creates.”