Havant & Waterlooville FC has beaten hundreds of nominated businesses to be named as the overall winner at Alan Mak’s third Havant Small Business Awards.
The Hawks have enjoyed stellar success on and off the pitch in recent years, achieving back-to-back promotions to reach the highest level of the non-league pyramid and growing a thriving commercial business with the Westleigh pub, which won the Best Pub Award.
The football club is also well known for its work in the Leigh Park area through the “Hawks in the Community” programme, providing outreach and sporting activities for young people.
Businesses from across the Havant constituency were recognised at glitzy prize-giving ceremony hosted at South Downs College, with winners announced in 12 separate categories from Best Café, Takeaway and Pub to Best Family Business, Apprentice and Business Personality.
It comes after Havant MP Alan Mak received a record number of nominations from the public with more than 500 local business put forward by residents.
He said: “Backing our local businesses and the hardworking local people behind them is a top priority for me. My Awards celebrated some of the best businesses from across the Havant constituency for a third year. The Hawks were deserving winners, with the Westleigh growing in popularity as a year-round venue, and the team’s efforts on the pitch galvanising the whole local community. With leadership from Chairman Derek Pope, General Manager Adi Aymes and Club Manager Lee Bradbury they are role models for how a community football club should operate.”
He added: “Across all the categories we had so many brilliant nominations from local residents. What’s clear from these Awards is that across the Havant constituency we have so many thriving businesses, which are really appreciated by their customers. As we head towards Christmas, let’s keep backing our high streets and local businesses.”
Scott Armstrong, Bar Manager of the Westleigh, said: "I’m delighted The Westleigh - the beating heart of the Hawks - have won Alan Mak’s top business award after some great performances from our staff and players on and off the pitch. We’re proud to be at the heart of the community, and this Award is great recognition for the work we do with local residents especially young people”
The guest speaker on the night was Nic Yeeles, co-founder and CEO of Peg, a disruptive digital start-up that works social media influencers. He spoke about some of the challenges and experiences he’s faced since founding his first business aged 18.
Aside from the awards, a charity raffle helped to raise more than £500 for both the Southern Domestic Abuse Service and the Royal British Legion, two causes Alan has supported since he was first elected to Parliament.
Mike Gaston, Principal and Chief Executive of HSDC, said: “Havant & South Downs College was once again delighted to support Alan Mak MP in hosting the Havant Small Business Awards, which were an opportunity to celebrate success and to remember the vital role that small businesses make to our community both from a business point of view and in creating community cohesion.”
The full list of winners can be found on Alan’s website at alanmak.org.uk/SBA