Rural Community recognised by awards

Published: Fri, 1 Dec 2017
The Housing Executive’s Robert Clements, Paul Reid and Sinead Collins (far right) with the BBC'S Anne Marie McAleese.
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Rural Community recognised by Housing Executive awards
The Housing Executive recognised the cream of the crop in the presentation of their annual Rural Community Awards held in Mid Ulster this November.
Celebrating its 4th year, the awards ceremony took place at Killymoon in Cookstown on Wednesday 29th November. As well as the Community Spirit and Cleaner and Greener awards, this was the inaugural year of the Sustainable Village award.  The new award will be the overall winner of the two existing categories and aims to celebrate the vital contributions of villages that encourage environmental, social and economic sustainability.
This year, BBC’s Anne Marie McAleese from the highly popular ‘Your Place and Mine’ radio programme was a guest speaker at the event.
The Rural Community Awards aim to acknowledge rural communities working to foster a vibrant community in their areas and competition entries highlighted the tremendous work being carried out in rural communities across Northern Ireland.
Each winner will receive £1000 to use to support and extend activities/projects which benefit their community as well as a plaque to display in their village. Within each category there are two prizes, one for villages with a population of less than 1,000 and one for populations 1,000-5,000.
Siobhan McCauley, our Director of Regional Services said: “I would like to congratulate all of this year’s winners across the three categories, especially our first two recipients of the first ever Sustainable Village award.
“The Housing Executive has a dedicated unit specifically engaging with the rural community, to address issues and concerns for effective rural development. The strong working relationship between ourselves and villages across Northern Ireland is extremely healthy and continues to grow.
“The Rural Community Awards are a positive example of the Housing Executive fostering vibrant communities in acknowledging the vital contribution made by the rural community in improving the lives of residents.”
BBC’s Anne Marie McAleese, who was a guest speaker at this year’s Rural Community Awards said: “The value and impact of  people power can never be underestimated – these awards recognise the tremendous achievement of community groups in towns and villages all over Northern Ireland.
“They reinforce the real and positive difference such collective effort can make to the day to day lives of the people who live in places with a unique appreciation of where they come from.’
Robert Clements, the Housing Executive’s Sustainable Development Manager added: “The Sustainable Village award recognises the great work villages are doing in making them more sustainable for future generations. It is very encouraging that villages are eligible to receive this accolade, even in its first year.
“Throughout the award entries, there have been excellent examples of reducing the carbon footprint as well as encouraging biodiversity. Each winner has clearly demonstrated a proactive approach to improving their village and the local community.
“Congratulations to all of the winners, but especially both Castlecaulfield and Millisle who have lead the way in making their villages more environmentally friendly for those living there.”