Organisers behind the Shropshire’s Outstanding Community (SOC) initiative say it aims to cast a spotlight on all that is positive about the county and its people.
Communities across the county will be able to put themselves up for recognition by the scheme – and the definition of community is broad - from a town or village to a housing development, street or block of flats.
High Sheriff of Shropshire Tony Morris-Eyton, who is part of the SOC organising committee, said: “This is very much an extension of traditional competitions like Best Kept Village or Britain in Bloom, which celebrated places that were the loveliest in appearance.
“SOC will celebrate community spirit, the collective effort that adds to the pleasure of living in a place for its people. Taking a pride in your town, street or village’s appearance is part of it, for instance through volunteer litter-picking groups or those who voluntarily mow verges and plant public borders.
“But this initiative is as much, if not more, about relationships, bonds, identity and about focusing on where people have come together with a collective investment in their neighbourhood, where attitudes and interests are commonly shared.
“It’s about good neighbourliness, looking after one another, a community’s sociability and about collective day-to-day attitudes and actions that make life that little bit better for everyone.
“It is about celebrating the Shropshire communities that have a strong sense of their own identity and in which their residents have an emotional stake. We want to show off communities that aren’t just places where people reside but that have a heart and soul.”
The award is being run by The Community Foundation, whose business development officer Jo Cooper said it was a chance for the people of the county to showcase what their communities have achieved.
She said: “It is an opportunity to show why it is great to live in Shropshire. The Community Foundation wants to shine a light where people come together and support each other and celebrate a community of people who have developed a safe and thriving environment in which to live.”
She added: “Entries are starting to come in already and we look forward to finding out about the amazing work taking place across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.”
The winning community will receive a plaque for display and £1,000 to be spent on something that will benefit the community.
Second and third places will receive a certificate each and £500 and £250 respectively.
People can visit outstanding.community for details of how to enter or contact Jo Cooper on 01743 295900 for more information.
The closing date for entries is June 25.