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The 2022 Health Food Institute Training Awards

John Frisby
Chairman of the Health Food Institute

It gives me great pleasure to announce the winners of the Health Food Institute’s 2022 Training Awards and tell you a little about them here. The achievements of our winners would not have been possible but for their own dedication and perseverance – with our busy lives, the effort involved is often immense. Our industry is fortunate to have individuals who are sufficiently self-motivated to strive to this level of commitment, and for the importance they attach to a culture of learning. I am delighted to congratulate each of the recipients and wish them well as their careers progress.

Roger Lane Hfma Scholarship Award
Winner: Holly Ross of Wholesome Bee, Settle

This award is presented by the Health Food Manufacturers’ Association (HFMA) to the HFMA/Roger Lane Scholarship student who achieved the top mark in the online HFI Diploma Part One. It recognises the passionate commitment of the HFMA and Roger Lane to the importance of well-trained and knowledgeable retailers in the natural products industry. Holly’s prize is a cheque for £200 from the HFMA and a signed Certificate.

Holly works at Wholesome Bee, a small independent health food shop in Settle, a beautiful town on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.

Her interest in natural healthcare was opened to her when her mum, Kath Hartley, founded Wholesome Bee in 2010. Passionate about natural healthcare for over 30 years, Holly says that Kath has an encyclopaedic knowledge of natural medicine and is a true healer and role model within the industry, and there is a community behind her that would wholeheartedly agree with that.

At 22 Holly caught a virus that completely changed her life (pre-Covid). Once she was discharged from hospital, her real journey to recovery began and she battled with her symptoms, with eating, losing her hair and her mental health. Throughout this time Holly says her mum was her saviour, and with that period of her life now over she feels more in touch with her body than ever and she has learnt more about natural healing than she ever thought possible.

It was following this event that she began working in the shop, understanding completely what it is to lose your health. Holly found that she loves working with people, particularly in such a close-knit rural community. She enjoys working with Susie Swallow (the 2019 Ian Martin Award winner) who has an extensive knowledge of herbal medicine, and who, along with her mum Kath, has been a fantastic mentor to her, and they often enjoy a good laugh together.

Holly says that they have a lovely group of regular customers, “their locals”, without whom they wouldn’t be there, and the support they have received throughout the pandemic has been incredible.

Jimmy Lee Richardson Award
Winner: Ellie Musson of Elixir Health, Wadebridge (pictured)

This award is presented by the HFMA in honour of Jimmy Lee Richardson whose perception and energy in the 1960s immensely increased public awareness of natural health products. It is awarded annually to the person who achieved the highest marks in the HFI Professional Diploma Course Part Two, in Ireland and the UK. The prize is a cheque for £300 from the HFMA and a signed Certificate.

Ellie has been working at Elixir Health and Wellbeing for over four years and says that she absolutely loves her job. She is “over the moon” to receive the Jimmy Lee Richardson Award, and would like to thank Lanes Health and the HFMA for sponsoring it and for their long-term support of independent training in our fantastic industry.

Ellie’s interest in natural and complementary health started when she was about 20 (she is now 34), when she randomly picked up a copy of Patrick Holford’s Optimum Nutrition Bible – she read it from cover to cover, twice! From there she became increasingly passionate in the subject, and also developed an interest in mental health. She says that she particularly adores Brené Brown and her research on shame and vulnerability, and Dr Rangan Chatterjee for his whole approach to health.

Prior to working at Elixir Health and Wellbeing, Ellie was quite nomadic, doing lots of dabbling and travelling and would never have stayed in a position this long if it wasn't such a rewarding and fun place to be. She says she hasn’t stopped learning since the day she started and believes that's what makes the industry, and Elixir Health in particular, so good.

Last month Ellie started studying to be a hypnotherapist, a dream she says that she would not be realising without the confidence she’s developed as a result of working at Elixir. She says that they strive to make all their customers feel seen, heard and valued as people and being a part of this culture has definitely impacted positively on her own self-belief, and led her to try new challenges.

Ian Martin NAHS Student Of The Year Award
Winner: Jenna Marshall of Hansa Wholefoods, Guernsey

This award is presented by the NAHS in memory of Ian H. Martin who for many years was Director of the NAHS and Secretary of Health Stores Wholesale (now The Health Store) and who was a significant contributor to the early development of the health food trade. It is awarded to the NAHS Candidate who achieved the highest marks in Part One of the HFI Professional Diploma Course. The prize is a cheque for £100 and a signed Certificate.

Jenna lived and worked in Scotland for 10 years and says she started taking a real interest in organic food and supplements in 2015. Her hobbies are hill walking (when she lived in Scotland) and cliff walking in Guernsey, and she also paints in her spare time.

When Jenna moved back to Guernsey in 2021 she saw a job vacancy at Hansa, applied and was thrilled to get the job. Hansa encourage all their staff to enrol on HFI training courses, and Jenna applied herself to the task with gusto! She says she is really pleased to work for such a lovely company, with its amazing products and colleagues and each day she learns something new.

The Teddie Marston Award
Winner: Lourdes Cantabrana of Nature’s Gold, Greystones, Co Wicklow

This award is presented by the Health Food Institute to the Diploma Part Two Candidate who has shown exceptional understanding of the principles and core values of health food and natural healing. The award honours the memory of Teddie Marston who for many years gave her wholehearted help and support to promoting the health food industry. The prize is a cheque for £150 and a signed Certificate.

Lourdes has worked at Nature’s Gold in Greystones for the last twelve and a half years. It is an independent family-run business that has been serving the Greystones community for 45 years with exceptional product range and advice with knowledge, care, attention and dedication. Lourdes started part-time, progressed to working full time and has been Manager since August 2021. Prior to this Lourdes worked in a variety of jobs in Ireland including waitressing, admin, as a carer in a nursing home, teaching Spanish in a primary school and adult education, working for a credit card payment processing company and a zero-waste Ecoshop.

Originally from Spain, Lourdes has been living in Greystones since 1986. She has three sons, three grandchildren and numerous pets, and her hobbies are yoga, pilates, cycling, camping and rock climbing. She also enjoys a number of activities in her community including helping out in the local thrift shop, being a Food Cloud Volunteer for Common Ground Bray, an initiative to tackle food waste, and the Sunday morning clean-up of the local estate and nearby woods. She says that her father is the person who has inspired her most throughout her entire life.

Shortly after Lourdes started working part-time at Nature’s Gold, she was encouraged by the owner, Brod Kearon, to start doing training courses to increase her knowledge of the health food industry and to gain confidence on the shop floor when dealing with customers. She has had an exciting training journey over the past 12 years, completing a number of courses including Homeopathy for the Family, HFI Certificate in Health Food Retailing, RSPH Food Safety and the IAHS Customer Care Protocol, Bioforce A Vogel Phytotherapy, A Life of Happiness and Fulfilment online Certificate course, the Viridian Certificate in Nutrition and Herbal Science, the HFI Professional Diploma in Health Food Retailing and is currently doing an online one year Yoga Teacher Training course in Spanish.

We are thrilled to maintain our long-standing support of the Health Food Institute, and congratulate both Holly and Ellie on their Awards. More than ever before, consumers are seeking out responsible and reliable information. We know that HFI training courses capture the essence of this and, most importantly, help to standardise messaging about natural health products across the UK, which is of great benefit for industry as a whole.
Graham Keen, Executive Director, HFMA

Tel. 0115 9234 534 or 07582 134470, email [email protected]

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