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Warwick Ward is crowned Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber’s Business of the Year

A booming Barnsley-based business, which has been making the earth move for than 50 years, has secured the highly coveted title of Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber’s Business of the Year.

Warwick Ward Machinery, which was founded in 1970, has grown to become one of Europe’s largest suppliers of new and used earthmoving and waste recycling equipment and employs more than 100 people across four sites in the UK. Headquartered at Blacker Hill, the company became an employee-owned business in June and has achieved significant growth during the past three years; the company proved to be a worthy winner of the title of Business of the Year.

It is the first time since 2018 that the title of Business of the Year has been presented to a Barnsley-based business, and with five companies from the borough securing individual category awards and an additional six Barnsley businesses being highly commended, this year’s glittering event proved to be a night to remember for Barnsley’s local business community. Other winners on the night saw Rotherham-based companies secure three category titles with Enhanced Skin Health securing the title of Excellence in Customer Service, IT Desk (UK) presented with the Commitment to People Development Award and the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust receiving the Business Community Impact Award.

Taking place at Magna and sponsored by the RNN Group, Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber’s glittering Celebration of Business event showcased the extraordinary efforts made by businesses and individuals – from apprentices taking the first steps in their respective careers to businesses going above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to staff development, business growth, sustainability, customer service and much more.

Over 550 representatives took part in the glittering event, which took place at Magna and was hosted by BBC Look North presenter Amy Garcia and featured entertainment provided by Barnsley-based composer Catherine Rannus and Britain’s Got Talent finalist Kyle Tomlinson.

There was more good news for South Yorkshire’s charity and not-for-profit sector with Wombwell-based Fareshare, which was presented with the title of Charity of the Year, whilst the YWCA and dementia support charity BIADS were highly commended; all three received cash prizes to support their important work.

This year also saw the very first President’s Salute to Business presented. The special accolade, which recognised the important contribution made by individuals and organisations, was presented to the NHS in recognition of its 75 years of service to the people of Barnsley and Rotherham.  A special accolade was also awarded to Chamber past president Joada Allen in recognition of the efforts she made in supporting Barnsley & Rotherham’s business community during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as marking 10 years in business.

The awards also recognised the longstanding contributions of a number of businesses, collectively racking up a total of more than three hundred years of service. Those recognised on the night for their long service to South Yorkshire included Davies Turner & Co, which celebrated its 150th anniversary, and H E Barnes, which marked its centenary. In a special President’s Salute, the  Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust were recognised for their 75-year contributions to their respective towns whilst Barnsley-based Visualised IT, led by past Chamber president Joada Allen, celebrated 10 years in business. The award also recognised Joada’s personal efforts in helping to navigate the local business community and the Chamber through the challenges posed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ashley Ward, Managing Director, Warwick Ward Machinery, said:

“It has been a momentous year for our business and winning the Chamber Business Growth Award and being named as Business of the Year is something that I think both myself and every member of our great team can feel justifiably proud.

Having traded successfully for over 50 years, we recognised that we needed to future-proof the business, and one of the steps we took was to become a fully employee-owned business. This transformed our organisation almost overnight; as a result, we’ve seen growth in all areas of our business, including growing our own workforce. Winning Business of the Year is one of the most prestigious awards any company can achieve, and I feel incredibly honoured that our efforts have been recognised in this way by the judges.”

Mattthew Stevens, President, Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber, said:

“This evening was more than a celebration; it was a showcase of the resilience, innovation and collaborative spirit that defines the thriving business landscape of Barnsley and Rotherham. We received a high number of entries, and the judges were faced with a difficult task.  I would like to congratulate every business that was highly commended and made the shortlist. You should all be very proud of your efforts.

The Chamber Business Awards is one of the most important events in the Chamber calendar, and it helps to illustrate not only the strength and diversity of South Yorkshire’s local economy, but also how many businesses across the region are going above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to building a stronger regional economy.”

Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber’s Celebration of Business will return in 2024.

Notes to editors:

A full list of all finalists and winners is as follows:

Business of the Year:


–       Warwick Ward Machinery

Apprentice of the Year:


–       Harry Walker, Total Training Provision

Highly commended:

–       Bartosz Pilarcyk, Fresh Pak Chilled Foods

–       Kamran Hussain, Equans


–       Tom Goodall, SS Systems Ltd

–       Jasmine Harrison, Equans

Business Community Impact


–       Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust

Highly commended:

–       Equans

–       Enviro Electronics


–       Fareshare Yorkshire

–       Make Your Mark

Business Growth:


–       Warwick Ward

Highly commended:

–       SMH Group

–       New Design Windows


–       Grass Roots Sports Academy

–       LensGo Visual Media

Business Person of the Year:


–       Hayley Koseoglu, iekos

Highly commended:

–       Stuart Turner, Lensgo Visual Media

–       Rob Shaw, Glu Recruit


–       Nicky Thomas, the Growth Community

–       Jason Mace, Gala Technology

Charity of the Year:


–       Fareshare Yorkshire

Highly commended:

–       YWCA Yorkshire

–       BIADS


–       Barnsley FC Community Trust

–       Rotherham United Community Trust

Commitment to People Development:


IT Desk (UK)

Highly commended:

–       Hine Labels

–       Equans


–       Taattoo

–       Total Training Provision

Excellence in Customer Service:


–       Enhance Skin Health

Highly commended:

–       Raspberry Flamingo Copywriting

–       Osborne Technologies


–       MCi 4 Service

–       IT Desk (UK)

Most Promising New Business:


–       Gala Education & Marketing

Highly commended:

–       Jiggle Recruitment

–       Trust Education


–       Tiny Rockets

–       Coven Barnsley

Sustainability Award:


–       Andel

Highly commended:

–       Cranswick Foods

–       Wentworth Woodhouse


–       KCM Waste Management

–       Professional Energy Purchasing

Salute to Business

Presented in recognition of longstanding support to the local and regional economy:

–       Davies Turner & Co. – 150 years

–       HE Barnes – 100 years

–       Morthyng Group – 35 years

–       Jeremy Neal Funeral Directors – 25 years

President’s Salute to Business

NHS (In recognition of 75 years’ service to the communities of Barnsley and Rotherham, presented to:

–       Barnsley Hospital NHS FoundationTrust

–       Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

Presented in recognition of 10 years in business as well as the outstanding support delivered helping members of Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber during the Covid-19 Pandemic:

–       Joada Allen, Visualised IT

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