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The death of rural village life? - Not according to Calor Village of the Year


WEBWIRE

As a new Government–commissioned report underlines further the ways in which rural village communities are suffering through the loss of key local amenities, and the headlines about pub and post office closures still linger in the news, one could be forgiven for thinking that the death of rural village life is imminent.

However, far from allowing the challenges of modern day rural village life beat them, evidence shows that there are village communities throughout England that are constantly looking forward and adapting in order to survive.

From ploughing the proceeds of events back into the community, to the bulk buying of fuel to reduce the cost to individuals, and the formation of community shops and post offices – villages are working hard to create thriving, caring and sustainable communities: all of which is highlighted and celebrated through Calor Village of the Year. Last year’s overall winner of Calor Village of the Year – the Northumberland village of Allendale, represents one of many successful villages recognised by the competition.

Throughout the 12 years since its launch in 1997, the Calor Village of the Year competition has been rewarding well-balanced, pro-active, caring communities which, irrespective of size, have made the best of local opportunities to maintain and enhance the quality of life for all residents. In 2005, the value and efficacy of the competition was recognised by Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) when they teamed up with Calor for two years to build on the success of the community life element of the competition and enhance it even further (Defra funded Building Community Life element of competition to encourage social inclusion in 2005 and 2006).

Competition manager, Suzanne Weir, commented: “Calor Village of the Year is not about pretty villages, it’s about the people in them. We’re encouraging communities to conduct what can be best described as a village ‘MOT’: auditing the services and facilities they offer residents and identifying what they need to do to fill in the gaps or make improvements.

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“By building up a database of village activity along these lines, we are then able to share best practice and help the communities that are not successful in one area through the experience of others. In addition to this, prize monies awarded to successful villages are invested back into community projects – encouraging further development.”

Although Calor Village of the Year appreciates that rural life is under pressure from dwindling services and social change, the competition aims to encourage the spirit of communities to stay strong as people can be instrumental in ensuring that rural village life is not lost forever.

Ends

Further press information available from: Emma Flinn, Connectpoint, tel 0161 817 4221 / email emma.flinn@connectpoint.co.uk

Notes to Editors

Calor Village of the Year past winners:

2007 Allendale, Northumberland
2006 St Neot, Cornwall (Best of the Best 10th Anniversary awards)
2005 Ashover, Derbyshire
2004 St Neot, Cornwall
2003 Ashington, West Sussex
2002 Sutton, Cambridgedshire
2001 Tedburn St Mary, Devon
2000 Great Bentley, Essex

Calor Village of the Year®

Calor, the leading supplier of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) to those living and working in the countryside, has supported rural activities in England, Scotland and Wales for 21 years through its Rural Sponsorship programme, which includes the Calor Village of the Year® for England competition.

The Calor Village of the Year® for England competition, now in its twelfth year, was founded and developed by Calor, and is organised and funded by the company on an annual basis.

Please note that Calor Village of the Year® is a registered trademark and should be referred to in full in all circumstances.

Entry to the Calor Village of the Year® for England competition is through the existing county competition network. Every year, Calor sponsors the majority of the county village competitions – which this year total more than 40 – each of which is invited to nominate one village to take part in the Calor Village of the Year® for England competition.

The national Calor Village of the Year® judges look for well-balanced, pro-active, caring communities which, irrespective of size, have made the best of local opportunities to maintain and enhance the quality of life for all residents.

The prize money for the 2008 national Calor Village of the Year® competitions stands at over £40,000. First prize in the English competition is £7,000 with £2,000 going to each of five regional winners. In addition, there are four category prizes of £500 within each region (covering People, Business, Environment and Communications).

For general information on the Calor Village of the Year® for England competition:
email: info@calorvillageoftheyear.org or visit: www.calorvillageoftheyear.org

For all media enquiries relating the Calor Village of the Year® competition, please contact Rebecca Jones:
email: Rebecca.jones@connectpoint.co.uk or tel: 0161 817 4200

For all general enquiries relating to the Calor Village of the Year® competition, please contact Brian Challis:
email: b.challis@ntlworld.com or visit www.calorvillageoftheyear.org



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