Two community groups from County Armagh have picked up two out of the six awards at the Housing Executive’s Rural Community Awards.
Middletown Community Forum was chosen as the winner of the Cleaner & Greener Award in the small village category, while Darkley Rural Community Group was awarded the Sustainable Village of the Year, also in the small village category.
Both groups won a £1,000 prize which they were presented with by the Housing Executive’s Director of Regional Services, Siobhan McCauley at the ceremony which took place in the Millennium Centre in Loughguile.
The Housing Executive was very impressed by how each community group worked together to regenerate their villages and bring residents together to improve each rural area.
Ciara Connolly, Chairperson of Middletown Community Forum, said:
“As a relatively new group, winning the ‘Cleaner and Greener Award’ has given us a huge boost. We’re hoping we can build on this and sustain our efforts going into 2010.
“We hope to get more volunteers on board and keep this going year on year.”
Willie Monaghan from Darkley Rural Community Group, said:
“None of our group does this to win awards or for a pat on the back, but at the same time it’s nice for all our good work to be recognised.
“The £1,000 means that we can go straight into our next project. To be rewarded by the Housing Executive under the title of sustainability has reaffirmed that we are doing the right thing and going in the right direction.”
Sinead Collins, the Housing Executive’s Rural and Regeneration Manager, added:
“Our rural community groups are constantly fundraising, organising events and working hard to make life better for people in their communities.
“This is usually done on a voluntary basis and so we want to celebrate this .Our Rural Community Awards are our way of showing that we appreciate the incredible work that they do.”