THE search has begun for Dorset’s Best Village with the launch of the 2014 competition.

The competition has been organised by Dorset Community Action for the past 27 years.

Entry packs are now being sent to the county’s villages inviting them to enter either through the parish council, village hall committee or other active community group. Magna Housing has been the major sponsor since 2010 and is supporting it again.

Additional sponsorship comes from Dorset County Council, the four district councils, The Dorset Echo, Dorset Magazine, Blackmore Vale Magazine, 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 said: “Last year 55 villages entered one or more categories of ‘best village’, so our aim this year is to encourage even more communities to take part in this very rewarding competition. “Any organisation can enter its community – the parish council, village hall committee, school, youth club, scout or guide group or other active community group.”

David Aldwinckle, Magna Housing’s director, said: “We are very proud to be sponsoring the Dorset Best Village competition for the fifth year.”

Besides the main Best Village competition, the People’s Project category – the village judged to have entered the best project involving local active people – continues.

This year the environmental champions’ category for the village judged to be doing the most green initiatives, has been enhanced to inspire and recognise villages working to reduce their impact on the environment at home and in community buildings.

The final entry deadline for this section will be August 22. There is also a new category, sponsored by the Dorset branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, of best village shop. The deadline for entries is 5pm on Monday, April 7, apart from the Environmental Champions Award where entrants have to register an interest in taking part by April 7 with a final entry date of August 22.

DCA is encouraging groups to save paper and postage by entering the competition online if possible.

Entry packs can be downloaded from or by telephoning DCA on 01305 216407 to be sent a copy by email on paper.