Rural Community Council rewards villages in Rutland

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HARD working communities have been rewarded for their steps to make their towns and villages greener and pleasant to live in.

The Rural Community Council awards named Whissendine as the winner of the Community award for the village’s Good Neighbour Scheme.

A plaque will be displayed in the village hall and the £100 prize will be spent on maintaining the service which encourages neighbours to look out for each other by doing shopping, cutting grass or driving people to hospital appointments.

Market Overton was given a gold award in the Cleaner and Greener section for its community allotments and energy efficient street light schemes. Uppingham was commended in the same category.

The town was also commended in the Village/Community Halls category.

The Good Neighbour Scheme in Whissendine was supported by Rutland Community Spirit which was last week allocated the funding to continue running for three more years.

The team secured a £205,000 Lottery grant and are already working with villagers in Braunston-in-Rutland to set up a similar scheme there and would like to talk to communities in other villages about it.

Rutland Community Spirit was launched by Rutland County Council in 2008 as a two-year project to reach out to people not already being helped by the council or voluntary sector and who do not have any close family support.

Funding was eventually stopped in March. Those involved were worried it would be the end of the road for the service, which is based at Voluntary Action Rutland in Oakham.

Project officer Sue Renton said they were delighted to get the grant.

“As a team we have been so focused on the project and to know that we will be funded for three years is a huge relief,” she said.

“With the various cuts all over the country more people will feel isolated and vulnerable and this money will mean we can reach them and make the community more focused.”

The money will be primarily spent on outings and social activities for isolated and vulnerable people in the county and will still work closely with the council.

Rutland County Council leader Roger Begy (Con) said: “I believe many in the community will be delighted that Rutland Community Spirit has attracted these Big Lottery funds.”