The Northern Ireland Housing Executive has created a new awards scheme to reward rural communities working to better their areas.
The Rural Community Awards 2014, launched at the Balmoral Show, aim to improve community spirit within rural neighbourhoods by offering a prize fund of £4000. Four £1,000 prizes will be awarded to help communities.
The competition has two categories: The Cleaner and Greener Award and The Community Spirit Award. They are open to all rural neighbourhoods, not just to Housing Executive estates.
Within each category are two prizes, one for villages with a population of less than 1000 and one for populations of 1000-4500.
Anyone who has an active community group, is proud of their local neighbourhood and lives in a community which comes together to improve the local environment is encouraged to enter.
Rural coordinator Tim Gilpin said the awards were introduced after young people in rural areas expressed concern that not enough was being done to protect and enhance their villages. He stated: “This competition is primarily aimed at rewarding rural communities who have actively engaged in improving the physical appearance of their settlement, as well as those who have encouraged and supported community participation in order to improve the community spirit within their rural neighbourhood.”
To download the application form and for more details visit http://www.nihe.gov.uk/news-rural-community-awards.The application deadline is Friday June 6 at 4pm. Email applications to firstname.lastname@example.org, or send to The Rural Unit, Northern Ireland Housing Executive, The Housing Centre, 2 Adelaide Street, Belfast, BT2 8PB.