New Business Awards for Dartford

Leigh Academies Trust was delighted to be an inaugural sponsor of the Commitment to Skills Award at the newly re-launched Dartford Business Awards.

Guests enjoyed a fun packed, Circus themed evening hosted at the Winter Marquee by fellow sponsors, Bluewater Shopping Centre. The Awards evening included a drinks reception, street food and talented attractions throughout the event.


As sponsors of the Commitment to Skills Award, Leigh Academies Trust requested that entrants submit detail on the following criteria:

  • How do you promote the notion of life-long skill acquisition?
  • What is your experience of working with educational establishments?
  • How do you develop staff to aspire to be future leaders?
  • How do you maximise training opportunities to encourage those wishing to return to work?

Dartford Business Awards - Sharon

The Commitment to Skills Award was presented by Sharon Waterman, Director of Education Improvement and Louisa Felstead, Engagement Development Manager.

In her speech, Mrs Waterman explained the Trust’s commitment to Dartford since 2008. It is essential that young people are skilled and that learning is life-long. She commended all entrants for the quality of their applications, explaining that judging had not been easy.

The prize for the winner of this category was advice on apprenticeships from a Leigh Academies Trust representative, to include information and guidance on the apprenticeship levy.

DBA- Austen Allen

Austen Allen Homecare

The worthy winners of this category were Austen Allen Homecare www.aa-homecare.co.uk . Sincere congratulations to our winners

Mrs Waterman commented –‘It was a great honour to attend the Dartford Business Awards and present the Commitment to Skills Award  to Austen Allen Homecare who we would like to congratulate on their well-deserved award. Leigh Academies Trust’s sponsorship of this award confirms our belief that when students leave our academies, they do so as ‘life-long learners’. It was also great to see former students who are now working with businesses in Dartford and I felt very proud when they were part of the winning team at Orchard Garage for the Customers’ Choice Award.

Orchard Garage

Jeremy Kite, Leader of Dartford Borough Council and LAT Governor said, “It was a wonderful occasion and a great opportunity to celebrate the hard-working and creative businesses we have in Dartford, our business community contributes so much and it’s absolutely right that we should thank them for the difference they make to our town.”

DBA- Jeremy
Mrs Felstead commented- “Leigh Academies Trust has strong links, through governorship and business mentoring in particular, with many of the businesses who attended the evening. It is wonderful to be working with so many of Dartford’s finest.”

DBA- Edward Bond

DBA- Bipperty

DBA- group

The winners and sponsors for the evening were


Best Use of Online – Sponsored by The Creation Lab

Big Business – Bluewater

Small Business – Bippity Boppity Shopity

The Dartford Living Customers’ Choice Award – Sponsored by Dartford Living

Orchard Garage Ltd

Commended – Downton & Ali Associates

The Innovation Award – Sponsored by Oxford Innovation / The Nucleus

Secure Technology Solutions Ltd

Best Owner Managed Business – Sponsored by Wilkins Kennedy / Thomson Snell & Passmore

Chris Fox – Fox Estate Agents Ltd

Commitment to Skills Award – Sponsored by Leigh Academies Trust

Austen Allen Homecare

Exceptional Skills Award – Sponsored by The Learning Shop, Bluewater

Benjamin Murray – Crago Auto Repairs

Matthew Holt – The Orchard Theatre

Shop of the Year – Sponsored by Bluewater

Big Business – Cocoba Ltd

Small Business – Longfield Village Butchers

Commended – Ahadi Fashion

The Happy at Work Award – Sponsored by Fairfield / Barclays

Edward Bond Wealth Management

Best B2B – Sponsored by NatWest

Jones FM

The Good for the Community Award – Sponsored by Dartford Borough Council

Big Business – Marks & Spencer, Bluewater

Small Business – Downton & Ali Associates

Community Project of the Year


Further comment on this uplifting evening can be found here and here