Search for top communities

THE search has begun for Cambridgeshire s top communities of 2007. The Cambridgeshire Community Life Awards are sponsored by Calor in association with Archant and other organisations. Leaflets are being sent out to the county s villages and market towns,

THE search has begun for Cambridgeshire's top communities of 2007.

The Cambridgeshire Community Life Awards are sponsored by Calor in association with Archant and other organisations.

Leaflets are being sent out to the county's villages and market towns, community groups, community buildings and pubs, encouraging them to take part in an event which looks for the projects and people who help make a difference in Cambridgeshire.

The new awards replace the Village of the Year competition, which has been a popular part of the Cambridgeshire calendar over the years, and include the chance of sharing more than £3,000 in prizes.

With support from companies such as Archant, the parent company of The Royston Crow, the awards organisers, Acre has been able to expand the awards to cover more elements of community life and to offer better prizes.

At the launch of the awards, John Yates, chairman of Cambridgeshire Acre, said: "We recognise that the county has a hugely diverse population these days and so we have designed the awards to appeal to as many groups as possible.

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"We believe these awards have something to offer everyone."

The awards are in three areas:

- Cambridgeshire Volunteer Awards, sponsored by Cambridgeshire County Council.

These recognise the huge number of volunteers at work in the county who help enrich communities through a huge range of activities. The Volunteer Awards are a chance to nominate local heroes and unsung volunteers for their contribution to community life.

- The Cambridgeshire Village of the Year award is sponsored by Calor, the UK's leading supplier of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas).

For this award, scenic beauty is not important. What matters is community spirit and achievement.

The prize is £1,000 for the community to spend however it wishes.

- The final section, Aspects of Community Life, is sponsored by Archant and a host of other local businesses and organisations.

It aims to give community groups and locally-run facilities recognition for the huge, positive impact they have on different aspects of community life. Winners will benefit from cash awards of between £200 and £500.

The categories available for entries are: Children and Young People in the Community, Older People in the Community, Environment and the Community, Heritage in the Community, Enterprise in the Community, Learning in the Community, Community Pub of the Year and Community Building of the Year.

Alison Brown, Community Life Awards co-ordinator added: "We have kept the entry process for the awards as simple as possible - we just want to hear about what community groups have been doing to make the best of local opportunities to enhance the quality of life for people in their community.

"We believe community spirit is strong in Cambridgeshire."

The winners will be announced and presented with their awards at a dinner event on September 4 at the Burgess Hall in St Ives.

- The deadline for entries is Saturday, June 30.

Visit the awards website for guidelines and an entry/nomination form or request an entry pack by calling the Community Life Awards co-ordinators, Alison Brown on 01353 865029 or Julie Weekes on 01353 865032.

- THE village of Orwell was Cambridgeshire Village of the Year 2006. The judges chose Orwell because of its achievements in many different aspects of village life, including caring for older residents, and the way business is supported in the community. The judges were impressed with "the enthusiasm and dedication of those involved" and described it as "really refreshing to see".

Marilynn Lawton, one of the panel of Orwell residents who put their entry together, was given a preview of the new Community Life Awards website.

She said: "The Community Life Awards website looks great and I am delighted to see that the awards have been expanded beyond Village of the Year, to draw together all aspects of community life. Entering last year's competition really brought Orwell together as a community and I hope other villages and community groups will think about entering - I'm sure they would enjoy it as much as we did."

Visit the village website: