DORSET can boast of being the home of the UK’s best company to work for.

Christchurch-based telecommunications business 4Com earned top spot on a list which included local names such as Churchill Retirement, Amigo Loans, Merlin Entertainments and Lush.

4Com had previously competed in the Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies to Work for, where it took 12th place last year – but expansion took it to the main list for medium-sized businesses. Company chairman Daron Hutt received the award from TV personality Ben Shephard.

Mr Hutt said: “This prestigious award is a massive step forward for us and, arguably, it’s even harder this year as we were up against bigger companies in a new category.

“It is testament to the commitment and positivity of our staff that we have been able to achieve this ranking as an independent mid-sized business.

“Everybody at 4Com works incredibly hard to continually improve the working environment and to build a place where people genuinely want to work, so it’s particularly gratifying to see this result as it is based entirely on what our team think.”

The company has more than 300 staff, mostly at its head office at Aviation Park West but with others in sales, installation and maintenance across the country. The business was founded by Mr Hutt in Salisbury in 1999.

In 2014, it established the 4Com Foundation, which has raised more than £200,000 for charity.

The second highest placed local business was Ringwood-based Churchill Retirement Living, up one place to 13th. It was the only housebuilder on the list.

Chairman and CEO Spencer McCarthy said: “I’ve always had the philosophy that if you treat people well, and help them feel a true connection with the business, you get a lot more from them. The culture of any company is its lifeblood, and I believe that happy and motivated staff are the key to Churchill’s success.”

Bournemouth-based Amigo Loans was 22nd on the list.

The list of the 100 Best Big Companies to Work For included Poole-based Merlin Entertainments Group at number 20. It employs 3,579 people across the country and was at number 14 last year.

Poole-based cosmetics giant Lush, which has 4,038 staff, was number 28 on the big companies list. It was at number 10 last year. Odeon UCI, is London-based but has around 100 staff locally, was a new entry at number 25.

Poole children’s hospice Julia’s House stood at number 41 among the Sunday Times Best Not-for-Profit Organisations to Work For, up from 48 last year.

The Sunday Times survey has been published annually since 2001 and is based on extensive staff surveys.