CERTIFICATES were handed out yesterday announcing the nominees in the first inaugural independent business awards.

The awards, hosted by Worcester MP Robin Walker, recognised the efforts of independent business owners in the city, and Mr Walker went and handed out the certificates on November 1.

He said: “Independent businesses play such an important role in Worcester and to our local economy, and we have a number of distinctive, unique and original shops, restaurants and other businesses which deserve to be recognised.

"Each of these is a special place in its own right and it was very hard to choose between them in order to pick and overall winner.

“As Worcester’s MP I have worked hard to ensure that small, local businesses in Worcester are thriving, expanding and employing.

It was a pleasure to present the certificates to the nominees for the Worcester Independent Business Awards. I am so proud of all our independent businesses and thrilled that so many of them have been nominated by members of the public.

“Although I will announce the winner later, I commend all of these businesses for having the dedicated support of their customers, this local community feel contributes greatly to Worcester’s fantastic high street atmosphere and I look forward to once again supporting our high street over the festive period.”

The Shortlisted businesses were:

• Wise Owl Toys

• Rock Follies Vintage

• Mr Simms Sweet Shop

• Malpas Stallard Ltd

• Anja Potze Jewellery

• Shake and Play

• Bare Grillz

• Deli Spice

• Donnelly’s Fish and Chip Shop

As a backbench MP, Mr Walker was a member of the Business Select Committee and called for a major report into high streets and the future of retail; as well as campaigning for the reform of business rates.

He also welcomed the shortlisting of Worcester for the Government’s Future High Streets fund and the opportunity for up to £25 million of investment in the city centre.