THE Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has won a national award for its support to members during the pandemic.

The CLA was the winner in the category Best Membership Support during Covid-19 for organisations with more than 5,000 members at this year’s Association Excellence Awards at an event held in London.

The awards celebrate and encourage the vital work that associations, trade organisations, unions and industry bodies do for and on behalf of their members.

From early on in the pandemic, the CLA’s hundred-strong team supported at least 3,500 members with personal phone calls from CLA staff providing them with bespoke support, with about 500 members calling the CLA for Covid-19 related advice.

The association also successfully lobbied the government for major changes for major changes such as a 75 per cent cut in VAT for tourism and hospitality businesses, while working with a cross industry coalition to feed the nation, promoting farm work to the unemployed and those furloughed.

CLA Director General Sarah Hendry said: “I am over the moon at the CLA being announced as winner in this category. It is testament to the very real and concerted efforts of my colleagues to support our members in a very challenging time.

“From the outset, our plan was simple, focusing on advising and reassuring our members, as well as lobbying government for appropriate support. Our members can be doubly-assured that the CLA is in their corner supporting their needs in the face of adversity.

“I thank the whole of Team CLA on this well-deserved award as they continue to work relentlessly hard to support our members. As things are getting back to a semblance of normal we will now focus on how we can support the rural economy’s recovery.”