£4,000 up for grabs in Rural Community Awards

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The Housing Executive is calling for entries to this year’s Rural Community Awards.

The second annual Rural Community Awards was launched at the Balmoral Show and aims to improve community spirit within rural neighbourhoods.

On offer is a prize fund £4,000, with four prizes of £1,000 being awarded to help and support those communities working to improve their respective area.

There are two categories: The Cleaner and Greener Award and The Community Spirit Award, which are open to all rural neighbourhoods, not just Housing Executive estates.

Within each category there are two prizes, one for villages with a population of less than 1,000 and one for populations of 1,000-5,000.

So if you have an active community group, are proud of your local neighbourhood and live in a community which comes together to improve the local environment, then why not make an entry?

Siobhan McCauley, the Housing Executive’s Director of Regional Services, is pleased the awards have returned in 2015 commenting: “The awards were introduced after young people living in rural areas expressed concern that not enough was being done to protect and enhance their villages.

“Last year’s entries demonstrated how rural communities are actively seeking to protect their rural landscape through a range of innovative initiatives. We are hoping these awards will bring to the fore more of the significant work being done across Northern Ireland to improve and maintain the valuable rural neighbourhood spirit.”

The Cloughmills Community Development Association won last year’s ‘Cleaner and Greener’ award for large villages and Patrick Frew from the group was delighted with it saying: “I would encourage all rural groups to look at entering the Housing Executive’s Rural Community Awards. It was a terrific opportunity to showcase what we have achieved to the statutory agencies involved as well as a super reminder to ourselves.

“The £1,000 was a welcome boost to the group and we put it to very good use!”

If you feel inspired then download the application form and get more details on the competition at http://www.nihe.gov.uk/news-rural-community-awards

Deadline for submission of applications is Friday 26 June 2015. Email your application form to eoin.mckinney@nihe.gov.uk, or send to The Rural Unit, Northern Ireland Housing Executive, The Housing Centre, 2 Adelaide Street, Belfast, BT2 8PB