Unlike in previous years, all district villages with populations under 5,000 will be automatically entered and will be assessed by judges in secret shopper style over coming weeks. The aim is to encourage and celebrate community pride across the rural network.
In previous years, the council has worked with the Campaign to Protect Rural England to organise its district Best Kept Village competition but this year is handling the awards itself.
Cllr Dr Peter Moseley, SKDC Cabinet member for Commercial said:
"People have taken great comfort from tending to their gardens during this pandemic, and I think our judges will find that the district is looking absolutely beautiful. Our villages are a great asset, and this is a way to reward the community spirit that keeps them looking so attractive.
"How our district looks is a very important part of our recovery framework, building on the work done by our Big Clean operation. We want to spread that message and commitment to all our villages as we emerge from the initial response phase of Covid-19 and move firmly towards restart and recovery."
The competition is divided into two categories of small villages, with populations between 100 and 500, and larger communities, with populations between 501 and 5,000.
SKDC will be awarding cash prizes for first, second and third in each category (£400, £300 and £200) and will assess:
· Condition of roadside seats, litter bins, paths and information signs
· Condition of front gardens
· Sense of community pride and ownership, floral features, condition of focal points and village hall/ community centres
Results will be announced at the end of the summer and winners will be announced at the November meeting of full council to receive certificates.