Rural recognition at awards

Representatives from Billesdon Community Plan receive their RCC Achievement Award
Representatives from Billesdon Community Plan receive their RCC Achievement Award

Rural organisations in the Harborough area have received recognition for their hard work at an awards ceremony.

The Rural Community Council annual awards were held in Birstall and aimed to mark the hard work done in a number of villages.

Medbourne Sports Club, Billesdon Neighbourhood Development Plan and Houghton on the Hill’s HOT Friends Tree and Conservation Project were all highly commended on the night, as was Broughton Astley’s village magazine.

The awards were presented by the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Jennifer, Lady Gretton – who is also president of the RCC trustees.

A spokesman for the RCC said: “There were 23 entries submitted, five community halls and 18 community projects.

“The aim of the awards is to encourage communities to make the best of their assets and ensure that those assets be sustainable for the future, to celebrate volunteering and build up further volunteers, and to support vulnerable and disadvantaged people.”

Medbourne Sports Club was commended because judges said the facility is widely used by the whole community.

The judges added: “They set themselves an ambitious target to totally modernise and eventually treble the size of the existing clubhouse facilities, to provide a fantastic facility for both the sports clubs and the community, with £250,000 having been raised and another stage to come.”

Billesdon is one of the first communities in England to complete a Neighbourhood Development Plan.

The judges said: “This is an excellent example of how a community can work together to enhance the quality of life for residents of all ages.”

Houghton on the Hill HOT Friends Tree and Conservation project was inspired by the village’s tree warden. It involves planting trees, bulbs and wild flowers, erecting bird and bat boxes and a bug hotel, a bee project, protecting swifts, education work with the village school, saving a village green area, and an environmental exhibition. Judges praised volunteers for improving the environment to ensure that the village has good quality green spaces.