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Behind the scenes at The Society Awards 2022

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In less than one month, the Society Awards 2022 in association with Aberdeen Inspired will be taking place in the heart of the city.

It’s hard to believe that the night is almost upon us, given just how much goes on behind the scenes.

The awards were first launched in 2019, as a means of celebrating all that is wonderful about our food and drink industry, alongside retail, wellbeing and lifestyle sectors.

The event was a huge success, and showed that people want to come together in honour of those who make Aberdeen and the Shire a wonderful place to live, work and play.

What we didn’t bank on, of course, was a global pandemic which would cause catastrophic damage across almost every sector.

Society Awards: What’s new for ’22

The awards still went ahead in 2020, albeit virtually, before we took a break in 2021.

With various lockdowns still ongoing, not to mention so many people going out of business, we took a pause and re-evaluated.

We then attempted to go ahead at the start of this year, before Covid once again caused everything to go on hold.

Society has some serious staying power, and we are finally going ahead on November 10, at Sandman Signature in the heart of Aberdeen.

The awards feel a little different, and for all the right reasons.

We introduced new categories to reflect on the last couple of years, and we also added new judges.

Society, of course, has also gone through its own changes, after a new team took over last Spring.

Team Society: Ellie House, Jamie Wilde and Rosemary Lowne took over last Spring.

We hope we’ve stayed true to the spirit of Society, whilst adding some shiny new additions and moving with the times.

Our team is feeling pretty excited, and maybe even as nervous as the finalists, but I think there’s a lot to be said in admitting you’ve not done something before.

This may be our first big awards do, but we’ve done the groundwork to make sure it will be as good as possible.

With that in mind, what does it take to create the awards in the first place?

Inspired by our sponsors

Alongside putting together all 14 categories and calling on people to come forward and enter, we couldn’t go ahead without our sponsors.

We’ve had some brand-new sponsors on board this year, which is a pretty special feeling.

Our headline sponsor, Aberdeen Inspired, has been with us every step of the way, but there are a great many others involved too.

Prospect, P&J Live, CALA, Laings Directline, Temple Clinic, Gary Walker Wealth Management, Stewart Milne Homes, Finnies The Jeweller, Dandara, Aberdeen Sports Village, and Atholl Scott Financial, have all been marvellous in their backing.

You’ll find out more about them all next week, following our sponsors and finalists party which will be taking place at Society HQ in Marischal Square.

In the meantime, we caught up with Matthew Finnie, the man behind Finnies The Jeweller, and sponsor of Fashion/Clothes Business of the Year.

“We are delighted to once again be able to support this wonderful event that highlights some of the amazing people and businesses that this great city, and wider community has to offer,” said Matthew.

“Being a proud, independent business, we feel it is crucial that the community works together to both celebrate success and help support the development of new businesses that call Aberdeen, and the wider Northeast, home.”

We also caught up with Angela Hill, who is head of marketing and communications for Aberdeen Sports Village. (ASV)

AVS has kindly sponsored Most Adaptable Business of the Year and is also our table gift sponsor on the night.

“ASV is delighted to be supporting the return of the Society awards this year,” said Angela.

“These awards help with the promotion and celebration of local businesses, which is key for local economic success.

“The event also has a part in promoting positive health and wellbeing within the city and shire which is a key strategic goal for ASV and thus, we are thrilled to be on board as a sponsor.”

Finally, we managed a word with Claire Bathgate, who is head of sales for Dandara Aberdeen – which is sponsoring Independent Restaurant of the Year.

“Independent businesses are the backbone of the economy and as an independently owned housebuilder, it’s great to show our support for The Society Awards,” said Claire.

“A vibrant hospitality sector is key to attracting people to live and raise families in the city so we are especially pleased to be sponsoring the award for Independent Restaurant of the Year.

“It’s been a tough few years for the hospitality industry and so recognising the people who have worked so hard to keep their businesses afloat and often making huge sacrifices to safeguard the future of their restaurants and their employees, has never been so important.”

I think Claire sums up perfectly how we’re all feeling about these awards, which is why so much detail went into the judging process.

It’s judging time… Judges, from left, Gary McDonald, Sam Robson, Amy Singer, Rebecca Carr, Ellie House, Ros Studd and Adrian Watson.

On the judging board was myself, Adrian Watson, Amy Singer, Ros Studd, Rebecca Carr, Dr Sam Robson and Gary McDonald.

You can find out more about their expertise via The Society Awards website, but here’s a little detail about the process itself.

We each selected our top five out of the hundreds of entries for each category, before discussing in person on judging day.

Some serious debate took place for judging day.

Each application was looked over in detail to make sure it fitted the category, before we looked over supporting material and answers to questions which the applicant had to provide.

There were of course categories where we disagreed, and the debate went on long into the afternoon.

Each judge was chosen for their expertise across the categories.

Where a clear winner couldn’t be identified, the decision was then taken to a vote.

This enabled the process to be incredibly democratic, and we identified some worthy winners as a result.

Please do not be disheartened if you didn’t make it through this year.

The standard was insanely high, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it another go.

You’ll notice our finalists vary from one-man bands to bigger companies, proving just how diverse the awards are.

If you’d like to be there on the night, head toThe Society Awards website and follow the link for tickets.

It’s first come, first served.

See you there.