Saturday 17 February 2018 09:27:10 PM

Last Call For Housing Executive Rural Community Awards
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Rural communities and villages across Northern Ireland are being encouraged not to miss the deadline for this year’s Housing Executive Rural Community Awards.

Applicants have until the end of July to submit their entries for the chance to win the Cleaner and Greener Award or the Community Spirit Award. The overall winner of these awards will be crowned the inaugural ‘Sustainable Village of the Year’ award. The new award was launched at this year’s Balmoral Show.

The aim of this new award is to acknowledge and celebrate the vital contributions made by a community who has went ‘above and beyond’ to help make their village a better place to live through developing and engaging residents in activities to encourage environmental, social and economic sustainability.

The Housing Executive’s Sustainable Manager Robert Clements, The Housing Executive’s Rural and Regeneration Manager Sinead Collins, Director of Bryson Energy Nigel Brady and the Housing Executive’s Director of Regional Services Siobhan McCauley launched the Rural Community Awards at this year’s Balmoral Show.

The Rural Community Awards help improve community spirit within rural neighbourhoods. There is a total prize fund of £6,000 on offer, with six prizes of £1,000 being awarded to help and support those communities working to improve their respective areas. Within each of the three categories (Cleaner and Greener, Rural Community Spirit and Sustainable Village of the Year) there are two prizes, one for villages with a population of less than 1,000 and one for populations 1,000-5,000.

The awards are open to all rural neighbourhoods however we are particularly interested in activities which are inclusive and benefit tenants of Housing Executive estates.

Siobhan McCauley, the Housing Executive’s Director of Regional Services said: “We are delighted with the number of entries already received for this year’s Rural Community Awards. The calibre of applicants shows the thriving local rural community and the excellent work taking place across Northern Ireland.

“The introduction of the Sustainable Village of the Year award recognises the overall achievements of groups who have excelled in both the Cleaner and Greener and the Community Spirit categories. This is a positive statement from the Housing Executive in their support of the rural community, in recognising best practice.

“As we enter the fourth year of the Rural Community Awards, the number of nominations across Northern Ireland continues to grow. This is an opportunity to showcase how they have helped to improve health and well-being and boost community spirit within their villages.

“To be eligible for this award, community groups must apply for both the Rural Community Spirit and the Cleaner and Greener awards and then provide a 500 word statement outlining how they think they have contributed to the sustainability of their village. Examples of reducing fuel poverty, reducing carbon footprint of the village and encouraging biodiversity are some of the key elements we will be looking for in award submissions.”

Deadline for the submission of applications is 4pm on Friday 28 July.

 Email your application form to:

 [email protected]

or send to the Rural Unit, Housing Executive, the Housing Centre, 2 Adelaide Street, Belfast BT2 8PB.