The New Year has begun and whilst the dull and dismal weather of late seems a long way from the brighter and warmer days of spring and summer, it is time to start thinking about the Best Kept Village Competition!
The competition began in 1956 and over 200 villages have entered at some time over the last 61 years. Some only entered once or twice, but many are still involved and Tutbury has entered every year but one since 1956. There were 55 entries in 2016 and the BKV Working Group (which organises the BKV competition on behalf of the Community Council of Staffordshire) would like to see more villages in the competition in 2017.
The focus of BKV is on community spirit and involvement and the maintenance and improvement of the environment of villages. It’s not about pretty villages, it’s more about villages whose residents, local organisations, community and volunteer groups, etc. get together to keep the environment and amenity areas of those villages in good order.
Villages should register their intention to enter BKV in 2017 with the Community Council by Monday 20 February;
full entry details will not be required until Monday 27 March 2017.
John Perry, MBE, Chairman of the BKV Working Group said:
“I feel sure that the standards achieved by many villages have improved over recent years and last year illustrated that in that judges found it quite difficult to separate the top villages in several parts of the county. I think that the picture will be much the same in 2017. Last year’s Area and County winners will be working hard to retain their titles and there will be other villages equally determined to be winners this year. There will, of course, be some villages that perhaps feel that they have only an outside chance of winning, but they will still be determined to make sure that their villages will look their best. They may also aim a bit higher and try a bit harder than before and who knows what they might achieve. The BKV competition is all about communities doing their best to make sure that their village environments are as well looked after as possible.”
Villages will be visited in May and then again in June, by different teams of judges. The best Large and the best Small villages in each area will be judged again in July. Then the best villages in each area will be judged in the County Finals in mid-July. The results of the competition will be announced in early August.
John Perry went on to say:
“There will not be any major changes to the way the competition will be organised and judged in 2017. We are happy that the split between Large and Small villages,
which was established at 1500 last year, is reasonable and we will keep that this year. We have clarified the differences between operational and non-operational telephone boxes and the “old red boxes”, which have been purchased from BT and put to a variety of uses in a number of villages, will now be considered within the village features section.
There will also be the now traditional children’s poster competition – the wonderful displays of children’s posters bring a real sparkle and touch of colour to villages and catch the eyes of residents and visitors alike – alerting them that the village has entered BKV and that they certainly must not drop any litter! We have also introduced a new prose and poetry competition on the theme of BKV and the ideas behind it. We hope that this will be popular.”
The BKV competition relies on a large group of volunteer judges, particularly in the 1st and 2nd rounds of judging in May and June. There is a group of people who have judged for many years, but some retire every year and the BKV Working Group is always looking for more judges. If you would like to “give it a go” please contact the Community Council.
Chris Welch, Chief Executive of the Community Council of Staffordshire said:
“Don’t be worried if you have never done any judging before. We provide training and you will be teamed with experienced judges who know the ropes. We can promise you two interesting days, perhaps visiting villages which you have never seen before – and we guarantee sunny weather, blue skies and no rain!”
If you would like to know more about the Best Kept Village Competition, the complementary children’s competitions, would like advice or guidance on how to enter or would like to be a judge, please contact the Community Council on 01785 242525 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org