Television adventurer Monty Halls will today help to launch a new campaign to celebrate community spirit in towns and villages across the South West.
Monty, who lives in Dartmouth, South Devon, and stars in the BBC’s Great Escapes, is backing the Community South West campaign. The scheme encourages local residents to recognise and nurture the ties that knit people together.
Part of the bid includes a competition to give four communities – one each from Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset – the chance to win £1,500 towards a community event or project.
Monty said he was delighted to help launch a campaign which taps into something he feels passionate about.
He said: “While my recent TV challenges have been diverse, whether it be crofting on Scotland’s west coast or learning the ropes as The Fisherman’s Apprentice in Cornwall, my abiding memories are of the people, the communities and the companionship and strength which they draw from each other.
“Those of us who live in the South West are fortunate that community spirit here is
alive and well, but it is not something to be taken for granted and it’s not equally represented in every community.
“It is up to all of us to recognise its importance and our own role in preserving and encouraging it.”
A new survey carried out in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset by insurance firm Cornish Mutual, which is behind the campaign, was released today.
It found nine of out ten people surveyed rated community spirit as either important or very important.
Four out of five people said community spirit in their local area was good or very good. And two-thirds of people who could give a view felt community spirit is better locally compared with similar places outside the South West.
Cornish Mutual managing director Alan Goddard said fostering strong community bonds was vital.
He said: “We hope Community South West will offer the opportunity for communities to reflect on what community spirit means to them.
“The campaign is about highlighting those great examples of community spirit in action and the people, schools, churches and other organisations and groups behind active and successful communities.
“But we also want to encourage community spirit to flourish, which is why we’ve included a competition where we are asking people to share their stories, nominate their community and tell us how they would use the prize for a local event, cause or project.”
For more details about Community South West or to nominate a local community and project go to www.communitysouthwest.co.uk