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New Rural Community Award announced by Housing Executive

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The ‘Sustainable Village of the Year’ award has been launched as part of the Housing Executive’s Rural Community Awards.

The announcement was made at this year’s Balmoral Show by the Housing Executive.

The Sustainable Village of the Year award will be the overall winner of the two existing award categories: the Cleaner and Greener Award and the Community Spirit Award.

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 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 to introduce the Sustainable Village of the Year Award, an additional award to recognise the overall achievements of groups who have excelled in both the Cleaner and Greener and the Community Spirit categories.

“As we enter the fourth year of the Rural Community Awards, the number of nominations across Northern Ireland continues to grow. We look forward to hearing from rural community groups this summer and giving them the opportunity to showcase how they have helped to improve health and well-being and boost community spirit within their villages.”

Robert Clements, the Housing Executive’s Sustainable Manager added: “The Sustainable Village Awards is a new annual award recognising the benefits of the Rural Community Awards in encouraging and rewarding environmental sustainability.

“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.”

Nigel Brady, Director of Bryson Energy said: ‘‘We are delighted to support the launch of these rural awards, especially with the new inclusion of the Sustainable Village award. As NI leading energy social enterprise we are committed to rural sustainable communities.”

Deadline for the submission of applications is 4pm on Friday July 14.

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