Calor Village of the Year Competition, 2007, Somerset
LEIGH ON MENDIP - Overall Winner and Communications Category Winner,
The judges consider Leigh on Mendip worthy winners of the Overall Winner and Communications categories.
The village community has imaginatively overcome disadvantages in cohesion caused by proximity to major towns and larger villages, together with some past environmental problems.
The Leigh on Mendip Community Activity Project has worked hard and with noteworthy success in creating a well balanced, pro-active, caring village community which has shown considerable imagination in finding the best of local opportunities to maintain and enhance the quality of life for all inhabitants. It was clear to the judges that the members of the Activity Project had a clear, although ambitious, grasp of the "possible" and were willing to widen perspectives to achieve the above aims. The judges were particularly impressed with the Project's drive to share skills and facilities with (sometimes) larger neighbours and to call on specialist help and funding for projects. There was no hint of insularity in seeking a balanced pro-active village community.
Of further note was the high level of village activities which, per capita, outstripped other short listed contenders this year. In the judges' view, village activities form an important part of communications within the community. This, together with the (locally shared) newsletter, whose organisation requires periodic visits to households, the occasional pamphleteering, the sensitively targeted and structured website (friendly to those not on broadband) and the attention to notice boards, assisted the judges in identifying Leigh on Mendip as the winner for Communications. The strong drive for simple and effective communication, within and without the immediate village community, in the judges' view, has led to further attributes identifying Leigh on Mendip the overall winner. For example, now bereft of a village shop and post office, the Project, after research, is promoting a village farm shop and an innovative (web based) "virtual shop".
The judges found the community plan questionnaire exemplary in its efforts to engage (particularly with youth). In recent years the community plan process has been undertaken twice, together with several housing needs surveys.
The judges wish every success to Leigh on Mendip in the regional and country competitions, for which they are now eligible. The rules disqualify them from entry in the county competition next year and the judges feel bound to warn them that they are most likely to have several other villages breathing over their shoulder for "honours" in 2009!
Thanks are due to Graham Harris for leading this year's entry, Caroline Harris for production of the presentation slides and the 22nd August presentation team - but most of all to everyone who makes our village the "best in Somerset" - we always knew it was !
More info at these web sites:
Campaign to Protect Rural England, Somerset Branch
Calor Village of the Year
Presentation of the award on 27th September by Lady Elizabeth Gass JP (Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset) and Andrew Greenfield (representing the sponsors of the Village of the Year Competition - Calor Ltd.).