Image Above: BWF chief executive Helen Hewitt
The winners of the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Awards 2023 have been revealed at an evening of celebration held at The Langham in London.
The 5-Star hotel was the perfect setting for an evening of celebration and fine dining to recognise the people, projects and processes that have made a significant impact on the woodworking and joinery manufacturing sector over the past year.
The 15th anniversary of the annual Awards saw a record number of entries and an exceptionally high calibre of finalists in each category. The seven categories and winners were:
BWF Health and Safety Award – (In memory of Jon Gibson) – Midland Mouldings Ltd for its collective efforts to overhaul and transform Health and Safety throughout the business. The judges commended Midland Mouldings for making “an ambitious commitment to adopt a cultural shift in how health and safety is viewed and actioned across the business.”
BWF Apprentice of the Year Award – (Sponsored by CITB) – Harrison Blackham – a young apprentice who has been working at Houghtons of York alongside his studies. According to Harrison’s employer, he is “an outstanding, committed, hardworking member of our team who possesses a natural talent for his chosen craft”.
BWF Heritage Project of the Year Award – (Sponsored by Remmers) – Corbel Conservation Ltd for its complex repair and consolidation project at Toneworks, an industrial textile mill in Wellington, Somerset. The judges praised the “high quality and complex restoration project carried out under challenging conditions.”
BWF Innovation Award – (Sponsored by Anker Stuy) – Handrail Creations for its innovative Timber Handrail System that allows for the manufacture of timber handrails without the need for unwieldy metal core rails. The judges celebrated the way the system “overcomes all challenging aspects of design and installation, whilst maintaining a beautiful flowing single timber line.”
BWF Process and Resource Efficiency Award – (Sponsored by Materials and Finishes Show 2024) – Central Joinery Group for the implementation of an extraction system that not only improved the reduction of wood dust but demonstrates significant environmental and sustainability benefits by reducing energy consumption and CO2. The judges commended the project as “an initiative with clear goals and objectives to improve health and safety within the workshop and to reduce the amount of CO2 emission.”
BWF Rising Star Award – (Sponsored by ASSA ABLOY) – Richard Kowalski, technical manager for doors at Stairways Midlands Ltd. According to his employer, “Richard is well respected and liked by all. Wherever he sees a need, he will address it, whether that is through product innovation, creating training tools, streamlining processes or supporting colleagues – his passion for the industry is infectious.”
BWF Woodworking Project of the Year – (Sponsored by Impra Wood Protection Limited) – NBJ London Ltd for the complex design, refurbishment and redevelopment of the Inner Temple’s new library and educational facilities. The judges praised the project’s “many facets and wide range of skills to effectively manage the refurbishment of the original elements.”
Commenting on this year’s winners and the Awards ceremony, Helen Hewitt, chief executive of the BWF, said: “The number of entries and extremely high standard this year made it even more difficult than usual to choose our winners, and I want to applaud all the finalists at this year’s Awards.
“The BWF Awards allow us to come together and take pride in all that has been achieved over the past year. With our sector having overcome a great deal this year, such as supply chain disruptions as a result of increased costs and a continued skills shortage, it’s been incredible to see all the impressive work and individuals who have made an impact on the industry. The Awards are a welcome opportunity to celebrate the hard-earned achievements of the past year and showcase the skill and technical expertise in the sector.”