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Community Funds available: Big money on offer to boost local sus

Once again, the Devon County Agricultural Association (DCAA) is calling for community projects across Devon to enter the Prince of Wales Award which comes with a £1,000 first prize.

The award is given each year to the project which the judges decide offers most in terms of reducing the drain on finite resources, improving the quality of life and giving local people the chance to get involved in doing something really worthwhile for their communities.

Previous winners have included Stokeinteignhead Community Shop, Sustainable South Brent and, last year, the Newton St. Cyres Community Support Group. In every case, the award has made a big difference to the success of the project, not only in providing funds for investment, but in boosting morale and belief among organisers and volunteers in the work being done.

In the case of Newton St Cyres Community Support Group, which is part of the Neighbourhood Health Watch Initiative, the award has been an inspiration not just for that group, but for many others across Devon.

“The difference it has made is really quite remarkable”, says Jayne Clarke, the community worker who leads Neighbourhood Health Watch, and who nominated Newton St Cyres for the Prince of Wales award.

“The prize-money has enabled the group to train members of the group to use the community defibrillator, but it is really the affirmation that the award has provided - the sense of confidence in what is being achieved - which has made the biggest difference.

“Thanks to the publicity which accompanied the award, we have had similar groups from all over Devon coming to Newton St Cyres, to learn from what is being achieved there, so it is making a massive difference, not just locally, but across the county.”

DCAA Chief Executive, Richard Maunder, says that the award is very much a reflection of HRH The Prince of Wales’ personal enthusiasms.

“It is no secret that the Prince of Wales is deeply concerned for the well-being of the rural areas of the South-West and for the sustainability of people’s daily lives. This award brings those two concerns together, and acts as recognition of the enthusiasm and hard work, not just of the winners, but of every community project that enters the competition.

“From the DCAA’s point of view, we are delighted to be playing our part in encouraging and promoting community sustainability. Keeping Devon green, in every sense, is a vital part of our mission “Devon leads the way in community sustainability, and this award is an important way both of recognising existing initiatives and in encouraging new ones to develop and grow. We want to cast the net as widely as possible, so if a project is local, is geared to sustainability and is making a difference, then we would encourage those concerned - including local schools - to have a go.”

Entry forms are available for download on the Devon County Show website, with the award being presented at the Show, from May 21 to 23. Entries close on March 30 2015