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Catching up with last years Rural Community Awards winners
3:13pm Wednesday 13th June 2012 in Features
AS nominations come in for this year’s Ryedale Rural Community Awards, NATALYA WILSON catches up with last year’s winners and finds out what winning an award meant to them.
Village Hall of the Year
THIXENDALE Village Hall is the hub of this small Wolds community and the listed building, which is used for both community and private events, was last year’s winner of the Village Hall of the Year award.
It hosts plenty of events for Thixendale’s residents, including children’s activities, yoga, a singing group, an annual children’s party and High Wolds Heritage Group and parish council meetings. It also displays information and supplies leaflets on national and local issues, offers a computer with internet facilities for community use and even doubles as an exhibition space and a weekly post office.
Lynne Boyes, of Thixendale Village Hall committee, said they were thrilled to have been nominated for the award as it recognised the work of the community and proved that all of the efforts put into projects has been worthwhile.
“A lot of people give a lot of time and their efforts are not always seen,” she said at the time of the awards last year.
“I think it’s very important to keep things like village halls alive in rural communities, and this will hopefully encourage younger generations to get involved and carry forward the projects.”
Lynne said the committee has been working hard to make sure that the village hall remains at the centre of the community and that winning meant a lot to them for a variety of reasons.
“It was nice to be recognised and appreciated by people on the outside for all the efforts as all the work done is voluntarily. It was also nice to see that our iconic building was recognised,” she said.
“It also meant that we could enhance the hall even more through advertising the venue to create more income. From a visitor’s point of view, we have created a new advertising board for tourists, cyclists and so on to encourage them to come in as the hall is open every Sunday.
“We have produced new leaflets for walking groups about the little walks around here and the history of the area and the hall. These were all ideas that we already had in mind but the prize money allowed us to bring them to fruitition.
“We’ve also used the money to outlook of the hall for Sunday teas, such as menu holders,” she added.
Lynne said: “I’d recommend entering the awards as, not only have we managed to improve the hall with the prize money, but appearing in the paper raised awareness and was encouraging for the hard-working volunteers.”
Rural Action Yorkshire, which is once again sponsoring the award for Village Hall of the Year, is an independent organisation which works with villages and smaller rural communities throughout Yorkshire to help improve the quality of life of the people who live and work there.
It aims to ensure that rural issues and ‘the rural voice’ are heard, acknowledged and addressed by the decision and policy makers at all levels of government.
Rural Action Yorkshire works with local communities to recognise and develop the skills and knowledge that exists within the community and empower local people so that they are able to have an input into how their local area and services are best managed.
Leah Swain, chief executive of Rural Action Yorkshire, said: “We believe that village and community buildings provide an extremely valuable community resource and that they lie at the heart of community life, as a meeting place in which activities can take place.
“We are delighted to sponsor this award and to help raise the profile of the fantastic projects and work which has been taking place in Ryedale.”
Rural Volunteer of the Year
JUNE COVERDALE is committed to volunteering within her local community and was rewarded for all of her hard work when she won Rural Volunteer of the Year at last year’s Ryedale Rural Community Awards.
June was nominated by Westow Cricket Club members who were keen to show their gratitude for her hard work for both the club and the village community over the past 50 years.
At the time, Julie Price, cricket club secretary and Gazette & Herald correspondent, said: “June’s outstanding support and commitment to Westow Cricket Club is, and has been, of tremendous help to the club.
“During her working life she would sometimes finish a night shift, then after a couple of hours’ sleep, go to a match and score for an 80-over match.
“She always provides prizes for any fundraising events, for the cricket club and other charities.”
June was also nominated for her help with other groups, particularly the Bar 13 Wednesday club and the Railway Club Monday bingo nights and running a tombola stall at the monthly Westow village fair.
Julie said: “Nothing is too much trouble for June. If someone needs help or is looking for something, June will help, lend or give you what you need.”
Since winning the award, June has continued helping with all sorts of events in aid of the cricket club pavilion fund, said Julie.
“We have had a number of monthly village fairs at which she runs a tombola every time and sources all the prizes herself,” she added.
“Recently we had a village garage/table top sale in aid of our pavilion fund, with lots of houses in the village taking part. June helped serve tea/coffee and home-baked cakes all day, as well as giving out maps of the houses taking part.
“She is scoring at cricket matches twice a week now the cricket season has started, as well as helping at the other groups she goes to.
“She is still a great asset to the cricket club.”
June says she was delighted to have won the award last year.
“I didn’t know anything about it until Julie came round and told me that I was going out for the evening,” she laughed.
“I was a bit surprised at how much I had been doing – I’d been doing it to keep myself occupied after losing my husband who was a great cricket fan. In fact, I met him at Westow Cricket Club. So anything I could help with, I would.
“It’s been great since I won. I’m not one for wanting attention, I like to do things in the background, but Julie put me forward for the award and I’ve got a lot from it – it’s given me more confidence to speak up when people offer prizes for tombolas,” she added.
“Underneath I knew I was always appreciated but this made me really proud at the fact that the club said outright that what I do is okay, and I’m pleased that after the amount of work Julie put in, that it was really nice to win and give the £250 prize to the cricket club, which is something I’m pleased I could do for them.”
The Gazette & Herald is delighted to sponsor the award for Rural Volunteer of the Year.
Sarah Hyde, editor, said: “Being involved in the Rural Community Awards last year was such a positive experience.
“The judging process highlighted just what an army of hardworking volunteers there is in the rural community, and at the awards evening it was a privilege to meet the nominees and winners and to help them get the recognition and thanks they deserve.
“June was and is a real star in her community and I’m looking forward to finding another local gem this year.”
See the panel, right to find out to how to enter this years' award.
Village Hall of the Year, sponsored by Rural Action Yorkshire
How does your hall benefit the local community? Do you hold regular events, training or provide vital services? Have you found a unique way to fund your hall? What makes your hall special or unique?
Rural Community Group of the Year, sponsored by Rural Voice
How do you make a difference to the lives of those in rural areas? Have you provided a service or done something to address a need in your community?
Rural Volunteer of the Year, sponsored by the Gazette & Herald
This award is about encouraging rural groups and communities to nominate someone who they feel has played a vital role in their community through volunteering their time and energy to a particular project, cause or the community in general.
Community Project of the Year under £5,000, sponsored by Ryedale District Council, and Community Project of the Year between £5,000 and £50,000, sponsored by HPE
Whether the project cost £100 or tens of thousands of pounds, the judges are looking for projects that provide real value for money in rural areas and can demonstrate how they have met a need in the community. It is amazing what some groups have been able to achieve with just a few hundred pounds, things which have had a lasting benefit on their community.
“This year, we have changed the small project award to under £5,000 as we wanted to encourage more smaller projects to enter,” said Sarah.
“We are looking for projects that present real value for money to the local community that they serve, whether the project cost £100 or £4,000. It is the benefit to the community that we are interested in.”
This year, there are two new awards.
Youth Sports Club of the Year, sponsored by McClarrons Insurance Ltd, which replaces last year’s Rural Youth Group of the Year
“This is in keeping with this year’s Olympics and the drive to encourage more young people into sport,” said Sarah Lally-Marley.
“There are many fantastic sports clubs in rural areas that are a lifeline to children isolated from activities in towns and we wanted to highlight and celebrate these clubs and the volunteers involved who give their time and expertise.”
Rural Community Project for Older People, sponsored by Ryedale District Council
This award is aimed at groups which run projects specifically for older people, helping to reduce rural and social isolation and ensuring that older people can continue to take an active part in community life, whether its a weekly coffee morning that is valued by older people in the community, or ‘silver surfers’ internet clubs.
“We understand that many of our voluntary groups and charities, village halls and so on are reliant on older people to keep things going so projects run by older people for older people is what we are looking for,” added Sarah.
How to enter
The closing date for entries is August 8 with judging taking place on August 15. Finalists will be featured in the Gazette prior to the awards evening, sponsored by Howardian Hills AONB, at Cropton Village Hall on Friday, September 14. The winners of each award will receive £250 for their organisation from the sponsors.
Entry forms and further information on the criteria for each award are available to download from the RVA website, www.ryedaleva.org.uk
For more information, phone Sarah Lally-Marley or Maggie Farey on 01653 600120 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com