THE Stour and Avon Magazine is once again sponsoring one of the classes in Dorset's Best Kept Village competition, run by Dorset Community Action (DCA) in association with Magna Housing.
The competition is now in its 27th year and Magna has confirmed that it will continue as main sponsor for a second term of three years.
Entry packs are being sent to the county's villages inviting them to enter either through the parish council, village hall committee or other active community group. In 2012 almost 50 villages took part.
BV Media sponsors the award for the best new entry in the competition. Other sponsors include Dorset County Council, the four district councils and the Dorset Echo, along with local food producers Clipper Tea, Fudges Biscuits, Honeybuns, Craig's Dairies, Denhay Farms and Helen Furness Catering.
DCA's competition organiser Rita Burden says: "This year we would like to encourage even more communities to take part in this popular competition. There are many who have never entered and all have the potential to win. Any organisation can enter its community – the village hall committee, school, youth club, scout or guide group. Even Dorset's small hamlets can enter."
Daniel Rowlandson, Magna Housing's communication manager, said: "We are delighted to be sponsoring the best village awards again this year. The awards promote community spirit and gives recognition to the hard work that goes into creating a pleasant environment for people to live in.'
Two special entry categories will also continue for a fourth year - The People's Project, the village judged to have entered the best project involving local active people; and Best Environment, the village judged to be doing the most green initiatives.
" It is not just about how the village looks. It is also about how active the village is, how it builds up a sense of community spirit and addresses the needs of its residents, especially the more vulnerable ones," said Rita.
The deadline for entries is 5pm on Monday 8th April. Judging will start in May. DCA is encouraging groups to save paper and postage by entering the competition online if possible. Entry packs can be downloaded from www.dorsetcommunity action.org.uk or by telephoning DCA on 01305-216407.
This year's Best Village presentation evening is being planned for Thursday 19th September at Puddletown Village Hall.