Queens Award for our producer – The Lakes

The Lakes Free Range Egg Company has been recognised by The Queen’s Award for Enterprise – one of the most prestigious business awards programme in the world. ‘The Lakes’ achieved their award in the Sustainable Development category.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are traditionally announced on Her Majesty The Queen’s official birthday on 21st April. They honour outstanding achievements made by UK businesses across four categories. The Lakes CEO David Brass was notified in advance that it was their “outstanding sector leadership and influence,” that led to them receiving a Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development.

David Brass described the win as “a hugely rewarding accolade for the whole team, it is a much-coveted award and we are very proud to receive the honour.”

The Lakes was set up 21 years ago by David and Helen Brass who have continued to produce free range and organic eggs, packed to the highest standards and adhering to leading animal welfare, ethical and environmental principles. They are now the UK’s largest, specialist free range egg producer/ packer, achieving this with a network of small family farm producers and by developing a model of farming that is profitable, sustainable and replicable.

David and Helen Brass

From inception they have always believed planting trees improves the welfare of free range hens. When they began, no industry standards existed, so they led the way. Over 157,000 native trees and shrubs have been planted on their ranges, optimising habitats for wildlife and biodiversity. All their producers follow the same model.

Always innovating, their packing station achieved carbon neutrality in 2016 – an industry first. David Brass is continuously involved in research to improve animal welfare and sustainable production methods and is also a Woodland Trust Ambassador. Benchmarking in the industry, The Lakes shares best practice with internationally recognised organisations as well as their producers.

Reflecting on news of their win, David and Helen Brass concluded “We have numerous awards for sustainability but see the Queens Awards for Enterprise as the very pinnacle of recognition and we are delighted to be the first in the egg industry to receive one. When we looked back at previous winners we saw just how exceptional this award is.

“This year, 237 Queen’s Awards were presented to UK Businesses – but only 8 were awarded for Sustainable Development, so we are in very esteemed company.

“This success is very much a team effort. We feel the award recognises the hard work, dedication and commitment of all our staff who have helped develop our business in such a sustainable way –  we are immensely proud of them all.

“It has been hard work keeping the news secret, but we can now shout from the rooftops and share the celebrations with our staff, suppliers and customers. It’s a fantastic start to our 21st birthday year and a great boost that will make our coming of age celebrations even more special.”Lakes Free Range Egg Co hen

The Lakes team is now preparing to receive a visit from Cumbria’s Lord Lieutenant Claire Hensman, Her Majesty The Queen’s designated representative. Later in the summer, David and Helen Brass will attend a formal reception at Buckingham Palace and plans are underway for celebrations with staff, suppliers and customers.

queens award

Large scale reduction with eggs at Slimming World

Slimming World in PenrithA member of a Penrith Slimming World Class said eggs helped her on her journey to lose more than 15 stone. We wanted to say well done and what an inspiration. We supported Claire on her journey by providing some of the eggs she enjoys eating! It’s not the first time we’ve done this – during British Egg Week we’ve been known to donate eggs to the whole class. We have several staff and producers who are members of Slimming World and have had great success in losing weight. That includes one of our producers who was Slimmer of the month recently – you know who you are!


Claire took brave steps to join Slimming World and lost more than 15 stone. The transformation left her less than half her original size and twice as confident. Slimming World Consultant Andrea Brough hopes that Claire’s story will encourage people who have a large amount of weight to lose, to make that first step into a class.

Andrea and Claire Slimming World

Andrea Brough has been a Slimming World Consultant for seven years and has helped hundreds of people lose the pounds then maintain at a healthy weight, but Claire is her first class member person to lose over fifteen stone. Andrea said “that first step into a class is very daunting, especially for people with a great deal to lose. I’m really keen to reach out to that group of people, they often feel scared or embarrassed to join us – and they’ll sometimes even ask if my scales are big enough. Our new scales will weigh up to 47 stones, so I am confident that won’t be an issue and our group is very supportive.

“Like many new members, Claire was very shy; she sat quietly at the back and listened. In her first week she lost over half a stone and she was very motivated from the start. Her weight loss has been consistent from week one, and she has enjoyed making healthier meals and finding a new level of energy.  Claire has truly transformed her life and planned her progress and goals well.”

Very aware that her journey would lead to excess skin, Claire bravely joined the gym when she lost her first five stone and has worked hard to tone her body.Ian from Lakes Free Range Egg Co

Claire has been voted the Penrith class Slimming World Woman of the Year twice and she is a fantastic advocate for those who have a lot to lose. Commenting on her success, Claire said “Andrea and the group have been so supportive from day one. Slimming World is about a healthy way of eating, it’s not about faddy diets and cabbage leaves.  Staying to the group session has proved to be so important, at the start it gave me ideas for meals and has really helped keep me on plan and of course, eggs feature in the plan every week. It was so supportive to receive packs of the Laid With Love eggs – they’re a quick supper or breakfast when you don’t have a lot of time. Anyone interested in finding out more about Penrith Slimming World Classes at Castletown can call Andrea Brough on 0788 9719 443 or email ma.brough96@gmail.com

Laid With Love egg producers win global green award

Lakes team win awardOur egg producers at The Lakes Free Range Egg Company go global, winning International gold at the Green Awards   

We’re very proud of our egg producers!

David and Helen Brass from The Lakes Free Range Egg Company (The Lakes) were unable to fly to Dubai for the final of the International Green World Awards. News came via email this week to confirm they won.

The awards are part of an international campaign to find the greenest companies, councils and communities. The Lakes won the UK Green Apple Award last year, after competing against 500 other nominations for the Environmental Best Practice Award. They wen t forward to represent the UK in Europe which they won in June, this qualified them for the International event.

The International Green World Awards have become one of the most prestigious recognition campaigns for environmental best practice. Representing the UK, The Lakes won gold in the agriculture category, with other global winners coming from as far as Turkey, South Korea and India.

David Brass, Chief Executive at The Lakes Free Range Egg Company said, “This award was presented in recognition of our work on tree planting, our carbon neutral operations, ammonia reduction and combining significant environmental best practice in our food supply operation.”

From the outset the judging panel was struck by the way The Lakes makes agriculture a sustainable business proposition for small family farms. Feedback from the award organisers said, “The judges were particularly impressed by The Lakes achieving a carbon neutral first in the industry, as a result of using renewable energy and planting 600 acres of trees and shrubs.”

The Lakes is now a case study in The Green Handbook – the leading international work of reference on environmental best practice. The case study demonstrates that ‘developing a business with sustainable animal welfare and environmentally friendly free-range egg production does support disadvantaged rural economies’.  Others around the world can learn from The Lakes’ success and follow their example.

Reflecting on their achievement, David and Helen Brass said “It’s gratifying to hear that our focus on long term environmental sustainability encourages others. 2017 is our twentieth anniversary, so winning this award is a nice way to end the year.

“It celebrates our belief that excellence in animal welfare and strong environmental provenance go hand in hand. This ethos has benefitted our hens as well as our flora and fauna. Our producers adopt the same approach which is very much appreciated by our customers too. We’ve always felt our model is replicable across the globe and can make a difference. Through our business operations, we aim to leave the world a better place.”

The International Green World Awards began in 1994 and are organised by The Green Organisation, an international, independent, non-political, non-profit environment group dedicated to recognising, rewarding and promoting environmental best practice around the world.

To learn more about The Lakes Free Range Egg Company, visit www.lakesfreerange.co.uk

Laid With Love supports Macmillan’s ‘The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’

Laid with Love – helping British bakers contribute to the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Macmillan Cancer Support.

 The Laid with Love brand of eggs from The Lakes Free Range Egg Company (The Lakes) is helping British bakers create cakes for The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. The annual UK wide event organised by Macmillan Cancer Support takes place on Friday 29th September.

The start of the new series of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ creates an autumn surge in baking which ties in nicely to the ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’ event organised to raise funds for Macmillan.

Helen Brass co-owner of The Lakes said, “We believe Laid With Love is the only UK egg brand that supports cancer research so we thought it would be very fitting to donate packs of eggs to people baking for Macmillan Cancer Support’s ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’. This year we have donated the free-range eggs to numerous groups, some out of county, but mainly in Cumbria.

“Working with Sue McDonald, Macmillan’s Fundraising Manager for Cumbria, we have sent eggs to Inglewood Junior School in Carlisle, Macmillan’s Information Centre at the Cumberland Infirmary and Barclays Bank in Penrith.  Our girls attend Austin Friars School in Carlisle and their event always attracts a lot of parents, teachers and pupils so we sent Jane and Emily to school with a case of eggs too.”

Sue McDonald called in to ‘The Lakes’ at Stainton to collect the eggs on her way to meet the Macmillan volunteers and coffee morning hosts. Sue said, “We are very grateful to The Lakes for their generous donation. The Laid With Love eggs have super-yellow yolks and are ideal for baking. I’m really looking forward to eating some of the freshly made cakes on Friday.

“This is the 27th year of ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’. It is our flagship event and this year we are hoping to take the total raised since it began, to over £200 million. This goal is well within sight as we have the perfect ingredients for a successful bake. The public love of #GBBO, volunteers love of baking and the best of British free range eggs donated by Laid With Love.”

British baking at its best – why not cook up a recipe for an event near you? Try the lemony cup cakes on our recipe page.Lemony cupcakes

Anyone looking to attend one of the coffee mornings can find one on the Macmillan coffee morning website.

Laid With Love Eggs are ONLY produced in the UK

medium and large laid with love eggsThe Lakes Free Range Egg Company produces our eggs on BRITISH family farms, so we want to reassure customers and consumers that ALL our eggs are produced in the UK, to the British Lion Quality standard and are perfectly safe to eat. Our producers do not and never have used Fipronil.

The current egg scare does not affect UK eggs so if you only buy Lion approved UK eggs you will be perfectly safe.

Most retailers in the UK buy their liquid egg for baking, quiches etc. from Europe because it is cheap. If you (our consumer) are worried,  then please lobby your retailer to buy British liquid egg.British Lion Code egg

Egg astronauts land safely at school

school at workOur producers love going back to school to help with eggucation! This summer they ensured the primary schoool pupils managed to land their egg astronauts at UCC Science Day. A record number of egg astronauts landed safely at Ullswater Community College (UCC) in Penrith this month – thanks to the careful preparation of parachutes and space capsules by primary school pupils frP1440906om across Eden. The activity was part of the UCC Science Day Taster sessions which help primary school pupils get to know more about secondary school.  Key ingredients for the experiments include eggs and parachutes which were provided by The Lakes Free Range Egg Company (The Lakes) and the Penrith Sainsbury’s store.

Around 370 Year 5 pupils from primary schools around Eden took part in the Science Taster days which give the youngsters chance to discover more about science and the school labs. Whilst the school hopes to encourage future applications for secondary school places, one of the key aims is to ignite a passion for science and exploring new ideas.

Science sessions included identifying ‘DNA’ in strawberries and creating a prototype shuttle that lands a scientist back to earth. The experiments use eggs to replicate an astronaut who is travelling home using a shuttle.  Teams built their shuttles and used the parachutes in a test landing from the school balcony.

Head of Key Stage 3 Science and UCC Science Teacher Alex Ford, who organises the event, said “The egg astronaut topic is always a firm favourite with staff and pupils.  This is the third time we have worked with The Lakes Free Range Egg Company and Sainsbury’s. They are very enthusiastic, coming along, getting involved with the project and making their own space capsule.  We really appreciate their support and are grateful to The Lakes for providing us with a regular supply of free range eggs. Each year we assess the merits of the experiments and egg astronaut feedback is always fantastic so we’ve no plans to change it.”supporting space capsule

Helen Brass from The Lakes Free Range Egg Company said “We love to see young people inspired to learn new things and have chance to talk to them about eggs. This year we took part in the Science Taster on the same day as pupils from North Lakes Primary School, they were very passionate about their experiment and came up with some creative team names relating to eggs including The Yolkers and Team Chicken.

“Opportunities to spend time with local primary and secondary schools are important to ensure youngsters understand where their food comes from and this is the second time we’ve collaborated with Sainsbury’s on activity with North Lakes School.

“Last month a survey by the British Nutritional Foundation revealed some alarming answers from children aged 14 – 16 where 6% thought dairy cows produced eggs.  Fortunately, living in a rural area, most children we speak to do know chickens lay eggs!”

Joining Helen Brass to take part at the Science Taster Day were Sarah Swan and Sue Sharman from Sainsbury’s. Together the trio formed ‘Team Lakesbury’s’ building an astronaut capsule which successfully landed intact. Sarah and Sue said “It was great to see the children really connect with the experiment. They had a wide choice of materials to work with, aiming to use as little as little as possible but still being able to successfully land their capsule without breaking their astronaut. Most eggs landed without a crack. This Taster Day is excellent as it gives children chance to build confidence about secondary school, learn about eggs and a key recycling message too.” Lakesbury's team

In an action packed week-long event, a total of 27 primary schools took part in the Science Taster Days.

Fantastic to win a national environmental award


receiving the CIEEM award

The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) has just held their national awards ceremony at Drapers Hall in London, playing host to leading ecologists, environmental specialists and a select group of shortlisted finalists which included The Lakes Free Range Egg Company (The Lakes).

Speaker at the ceremony was Baroness Young, Chair of The Woodland Trust who discussed implications of Brexit on UK wildlife law. She also highlighted the benefits that trees bring to the environment before presenting the CIEEM Corporate Achievement Award to The Lakes Free Range Egg Company.

The Lakes won the award in recognition of the wide reaching benefits their innovative tree planting schemes have brought to the natural environment, influencing their industry to plant more trees for the improved welfare for over 19.5 million hens, and for their continued development and research into maturing schemes with the Woodland Trust.

The Lakes case study featured in the award programme. It  highlighted that over 150,000 trees have been planted over 600 acres of hen ranges, encouraging free range hens to roam further as well as enticing indigenous and often endangered wildlife to return to farms – these include species like Pipistrelle Bats, Barn Owls and Red Squirrels. One of the key features of the case study is The Lakes long term commitment to planting and research.

The Lakes is three years into a Woodland Trust five year extended ecological survey, aiming to identify the best way forward for future range planting strategies.  This extended project is being organised by Paul Arkle, Farm Environmental Advisor with Cumbria Farm Environment Partnership (CFEP) who nominated The Lakes for the award.  Paul has been working and supporting The Lakes on tree planting and range enrichment for the last twenty years, formerly with FWAG and now with CFEP.

Paul Arkle said “David and Helen have been very committed to range enrichment from day one and that dedication has reaped dividends, but not just for enriching the landscape and improved animal welfare. With two decades of experience, there’s a vital legacy of schemes at different stages, this is helping us gain a greater understanding of how schemes mature over time and how the flora and fauna develop.

“This Woodland Trust survey is only possible because of the long term working relationship our advisors have with The Lakes and their producers and results so far are very promising.  Independent audits highlight 28 different bird species per farm (up to 38 in summer); six of these are species on the Red List (Tree Sparrow, Song Thrush, Lesser Redpoll, Yellow Hammer, Linnet and Starling).  Half the farms now see Barn Owls and other endangered native species like Red Squirrels.  Determining the biodiversity value of planting and developing ranges highlights the sustainability benefits, and others are already following in our planting footsteps.”

David and Helen Brass were keen to recognise that winning this award is the result of a strong collaboration and said “Paul Arkle is an integral part of our team – a twenty year collaboration, sharing the same values, supporting our producers and working with our customers and organisations like the Woodland Trust.P1450109

“Tree planting schemes on the free range hen ranges have presented some unique challenges, not least because of the strong foraging instinct and general curiosity of the hens! As well as better animal welfare there are other, very real and practical benefits for any free range egg producer. Trees planted around the hen sheds intercept ammonia emissions and particulates – helping to protect sensitive sites like nearby semi-natural woodland. They also help reduce nutrient runoff from the hen ranges and help to protect the water quality of streams and rivers.

“A farm without trees would be a poorer place. If I have to give any advice to producers it would be plant more trees, the benefits far outweigh taking part of your land and it makes you feel good to see them grow.”

Horses jump hen fences at trials


Our producers at The Lakes Free Range Egg Co were delighted to continue our sponsorship of the Cumbria Horse Trial Events and were particularly pleased to welcome Sophie Johnson and her lovely horse Ernst to the area for the Novice Regional Final at Warwick Hall on 17th June.

SOPHIE JOHNSONSophie is a close friend of our Sales Director, Bex and travelled with her mum all the way from Nottinghamshire to take part. Sophie took on the ride of Ernst at the end of 2016. At the time he had a reputation for hating ditches, water and anything scary! Through hard work and a different approach Sophie and Ernst are building a bond and earlier this season Sophie took him to Chatsworth where they finished 8th.

The event here at Warwick Hall represented a big step up for Ernst with an Intermediate dressage test, 1.25m show jumping and a very bold XC track to contend with. We are pleased to say he dug deep and jumped his heart out for Sophie with a brilliant double clear to finish 12th in very strong company. Well done Sophie and Ernst and we look forward to welcoming you back here in Cumbria again.

Our egg producers are raising money for Ronald McDonald House Manchester

Team Lakes for Gladiator challengeWe’re proud of what our producers are doing for charity this week!

A team of twenty staff and family from The Lakes Free Range Egg Company are flocking to take part in the Gelt Gladiator Challenge – the first ‘mud challenge’ of the year in Cumbria. The Lakes team is raising money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) which provides free accommodation to families with children receiving treatment in hospital. Ronald McDonald House in Manchester is the closest to The Lakes, so they will be sending all donations to Manchester.

Teams from The Lakes regularly take part in CRUK Race For Life events, but this is the first time staff from right across the factory have joined together for an endurance challenge. The Gelt Gladiator event is in its third year, with 4,500 people and 400 teams having taken part in the past.

The Lakes team is taking part in the Sunday 3K fun event designed for all the family. It includes fifteen obstacles with names that include local landmarks like Hadrian’s Wall, Scafell Pike and Giant Haystacks, as well as more tortuous names like Sink or Swing, Great Balls, Shocker, Ice Plunge and Mud Bomb.

Helen Brass, joint owner of The Lakes Free Range Egg Company said “We’ve supported the Ronald McDonald House Charities for over a decade.  They have fourteen ‘houses’ across the country that enable families with children in hospital to stay together in a “home from home”. In May 2012 Ronald McDonald House Manchester opened its doors, supporting families with children receiving treatment in the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and St Mary’s Neonatal Unit.

“There are 61 en-suite rooms and equipped with things any family would need including lounges, self-catering kitchens, play areas and laundry facilities.  Ronald McDonald House Manchester is the nearest to our business and in 2016, the house helped 768 families stay close to their children in hospital. We decided at Christmas that Manchester is where we wanted to focus our fundraising.”

Little did the team know that just a month before the event, Manchester would be devastated by the Ariana Grande concert bomb leading to many young people needing hospital treatment. Helen Brass and girls

Helen Brass commented “many of our staff have children who are the same age as those affected by the bomb, so raising money for Manchester House is even more poignant.  McDonald’s have kindly supplied us with our t-shirts which are currently white, but by the finish line, the team they will be a sea of brown. The event is a great opportunity for us all to get together and make a difference too – bring on the mud.”

The event takes place on Sunday 11th June; anyone wishing to make a donation to The Lakes Team should contact Helen Brass on 01768 890 460.

CBBC programme filmed at our producer farm

ready to gather hens

Our producers at The Lakes Free Range Egg Company, are always looking for ways to engage with the younger generation, encouraging them to think about where their food comes from, the benefits of free range eggs and the improved welfare of the hens that lay them.

The approach from programme makers for the BBC Children’s channel CBBC was a perfect opportunity to show how free range egg production works and how it makes a difference.

The Lakes featured in the fifth and final part of a series called Show Me What You’re Made Of. The programme films five children who work alongside people in the UK who make things they rely on in everyday life. This episode visited The Lakes Free Range Egg Company so children could see how free range eggs are produced and packed for the retailer shelves.

 Link to the program Show Me What You’re Made Of  

The Lakes owners Helen and David Brass worked alongside presenter Stacey Dooley to assess the performance of the children in a series of tasks. The programme began with a first test – which demonstrated to Helen that they could calmly and safely catch a hen.gathering hens for night

The children learned that The Lakes have over 135,000 hens in 18 flocks that can wander outdoors and into the shelter of trees, so an obvious second test was to take the children outdoors. The task was to gather in one flock of hens for the evening, returning them to their night time house. The task normally takes two people ½ hour, but it took the 5 children over an hour to complete. They said it was harder than they imagined, but they did get organised in the end.

Tompacking crates






On day two the children gathered and packed eggs

The next test was to gather eggs that had been freshly laid. The machines were slowed down to help and they managed to gather 2,300 of their target 5,000 eggs.

The final task was to pack egg boxes coming off the factory lines. Again this was quite a challenge but the children did really well, packing the six crates with great speed and efficiency.

Back in the Boardroom, Stacey asked Helen which of the children she would be prepared to employ if they were 18. Helen was pleased to say all would be offered work – even Lucas, who would need extra supervision! Lucas beamed at the news.

The award for star employee went to Maddie – it was the first time she has received promotion during the series and Helen chose her because “she had come furthest on the journey.”

All the children found their visit of great interest and Tom commented “I’m going to open an egg with more passion next time!”

Parents were interviewed about how their children had changed and Lucas’ parents said they felt he had become more responsible and caring, other parents had similar comments.

David and Helen Brass who own The Lakes Free Range Egg Company said “We were pleased to be able to highlight free range egg production to such a young audience. CBBC’s core audience is primary school children aged 6 to 12-years-old and the beauty of a TV program like this is that if you miss it, you can watch it again on Catch Up or on the CBBC You Tube page.  Around a quarter of their viewers watch programs on line at a later date – that’s huge.


“We spend time in our local primary schools, but Show Me What You’re Made Of enabled us to hit a much wider audience. Our schools are rural, so most have an understanding where food comes from, but Show Me What You’re Made Of will be watched by thousands of children from towns and cities, many of whom don’t really know the field to fork story.

“We really enjoyed the experience and learned a lot from the questions the youngsters asked. The fact that they went home and appreciated how much effort goes into getting their breakfast eggs on the table is also very rewarding.”

bosses say yes  Maddie delighted