16 April 2014



Two villages - one in Co Down, the other in Co Antrim - have clinched the title of Calor Village of the Year 2011 and a share in a prize fund worth £12,000.

The loughside village of Portaferry, Co Down, won the Large Community Award, while the picturesque hamlet of Ballintoy, Co Antrim, won the Small Community Award.  Each receives £3,500 cash, which will be used to benefit their communities.

Portaferry also received an additional cash prize of £1,000 as the winner of the Older People category, in recognition of the sterling work being done in the community with their senior citizens.

Other category finalists were Seaforde, Co Down - Building Community Life; Toome, Co Londonderry -Young People; Swatragh, Co Londonderry - Business; and Cloughmills, Co Antrim, winner of the Environment category. Each category winner received £1,000.

The awards were made at a glittering award ceremony at the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle, which was hosted by well-known television personality Tina Campbell.

The Inspiring Person Award went to Paul Hughes, a youth group support worker from Strathfoyle.

Run in conjunction with the Rural Development Council, the Calor Village of the Year competition celebrates vibrant, enterprising and caring rural communities and the vital role they play in local life.

Congratulating the title winners, Michael Kossack, Chief Executive of Calor, said:

“We are delighted to make these coveted awards, which are split for the very first time, to Portaferry and Ballintoy, as communities which exemplify everything that is best about village life.

“Every year, the standard of competition gets higher and higher and, once again in 2011, the winners and their residents have really impressed the judges with their outstanding efforts in many different areas of community life.

“Portaferry was a worthy winner of the Large Community title with the judges being impressed by a great mix of people, presentations and passion for the area. A wide range of social and private sector enterprises also thrive, not only offering employment opportunities but also providing key support to community activities.” 

He went on: “The preparation carried out by Ballintoy, winner of the Small Community title, was evident to the judges. So much of the community activity within this village operates with very little funding but with a lot of volunteering.  Newcomers are warmly welcomed, communications efforts are impressive and support to those in need is inspiring.”

Martin McDonald, RDC judging panel representative, said that despite the economic problems facing many small communities across Northern Ireland, the competition had once again been a tremendous success.

“It’s really uplifting to see, despite all the doom and gloom of the economic situation, how many villages throughout Northern Ireland are rallying to demonstrate  real community spirit and commitment,” he said.

“There could only be one winner for each main title, but the category winners have also demonstrated how hard they are working, each in their way, to make their communities vibrant, relevant and forward-looking.  We congratulate them all!” 

For more information on the 2011 Calor Village of the Year competition, please visit www.calorvillageoftheyear.org/northern-ireland or on facebook at www.facebook.com/CalorVillageoftheYear.

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