Visit Winchester > Blog > Winchester Business Excellence Awards

Winchester Business Excellence Awards


This year, Winchester City Council is sponsoring a brand-new Creative and Cultural award at the Winchester Business Excellence Awards.

This award is to celebrate a business or organisation that has used the power and value of culture and creativity to enhance “Winchester Life”.

To be crowned winner, the judges will be looking for evidence of:

The three shortlisted entries for the award are:

The winner will be announced at a Gala event at Winchester College on the 1st of June.

Winchester Business Excellence Awards Finalist: Integr8 Dance

Founded in 2008, Integr8 Dance is an award-winning company providing all things dance in Winchester and the surrounding areas.

They now have a dance studio, based in community building, Unit 12 Winnall Valley Road, which caters for students of all ages and all abilities.

Made up of a team of creative professionals with skills in a wide range of areas, they work to inspire the next generation in a wide range of underserved communities.Integr8 Dance logo

Integr8 Dance is acutely aware of the difficulties faced by children and young people, and the team are trained in other areas such as Mental health awareness training and positive behaviour management. They pride themselves in the fact that they can go to the most challenging of schools or settings and engage with students who wouldn’t normally get access to the arts.

Partnership working is key to Integr8, as they work with a wide range of organisations. From creative partners such as Theatre Royal Winchester, Move Momentum, Boyblue and Zoonation, The Theatre Royal to Winchester Young Carers, Winchester Community Food Pantry, Street Reach and many more.

One of their most recent projects was Trashmouth – a touring show with puppets made from waste materials – in partnership with the Waste prevention team at HCC.

The puppet show was performed and then children were able to take part in workshops to create their own puppets from recycled materials and learn how to move them.

The show brought the story of waste prevention and the responsibility of caring for the environment to life.

In March 2023, Integr8 Dance signed their first franchisee, to be based in Portsmouth. Their goal is to open 4 new franchises in 2023 across the UK, with Winchester being the HQ.

Integr8 Dance also provides jobs for local creative people. One of the main aims is to provide full-time, secure jobs for dance teachers and professionals.

They recruit graduates including from the University of Winchester and also run an apprenticeship programme for local young people and have been able to offer them all a job at the end of their training.

More information about Integr8 Dance can be found on their website: /

Winchester Business Excellence Awards Finalist: Play to the Crowd

Play to the Crowd – the arts & education charity that runs Theatre Royal Winchester, Hat Fair Outdoor Arts Festival & Playmakers – a year-round programme of community projects & creative learning opportunities.

Play to the Crowd is constantly working to reduce its environmental footprint whilst contributing to the local economy.

Hat Fair 2022 attracted thousands of visitors to the city from across the world having an impact on the local economy with 200 performances and an audience of nearly 60,000 over the 3-day festival. Hat Fair

To reduce its environmental footprint, the company has:

More information about Play to the Crowd can be found on their website:

Award Finalist: The Gurkha Museum

The Gurkha Museum preserves the heritage of the Brigade of Gurkhas and tells the story of how for over 200 years, Gurkha soldiers, recruited from Nepal, have loyally served this country.

Although the museum receives some financial support from the Ministry of Defence (MOD), it is mainly reliant on visitor admissions, commercial operations (retail and facility hire), grants and donations. It has recently embarked on a major redevelopment programme, Project Kaida, which will improve its accessibility, bring its story up to date and allow it to engage with wider audiences through an ambitious outreach plan. Winchester Business Excellence Awards finalist the Gurkha Museum c. Paul Carter

Public galleries over two floors first introduce visitors to the Gurkhas’ homeland, Nepal, before taking them on a historical journey from the Brigade’s origins in the Anglo-Nepal war of 1814-16, through Imperial Service, the two World Wars, withdrawal from Empire and then service as a fully integrated and crucial part of today’s British Army.

To reach a wider audience their free-to-access digital output has grown apace to include lectures, podcasts online exhibitions and a virtual tour.

One of their recent Gharma Siknu (Nepali for ‘to listen at home’) series of actor-led animations for children – this one telling the story of Nepti, an orphaned tiger cub, adopted by Gurkha soldiers and eventually rehomed in London Zoo – is a finalist in the nation Smilie Charity Film Awards.

The Gurka Museum regularly host talks, book launches and special events such as ‘Burns Night with a Nepali Twist’, celebrating the links between Gurkhas and Scottish Regiments, and Halloween ghost tours of the Museum.

Their free-of-charge activities for children during school holidays include craft workshops and the opportunity to sample authentic Nepali curry.

The museum actively participates in Winchester’s Military Museums’ joint educational programmes, which their redevelopment project will aim to expand and diversify.

They are members of the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, are represented on the Winchester Business Strategy Group and participate in the WCC Cultural Strategy Development Forum. The Director chairs the Hampshire Military Museums’ Network and, on behalf of the National Army Museum, the Southern Army Museums Network. The Assistant Curator is a member of the SE Museums Development Advisory Panel as well as running a growing programme of placement opportunities for the University of Winchester Cultural Heritage and Resource Management (CHARM) Masters course.

More information about The Gurka Museum can be found on their website:

Good luck to all the finalists in the Winchester Business Excellence Awards.