Community Planning: Methods
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Award schemes provide a way to stimulate activity and spread good practice at a local, national or even international level. They can be set up by any organisation from a local community group to an international agency.

The organisers establish the purpose of the scheme and assemble partners and sponsors.

An entry form is drafted setting out the themes, categories (if any), entry criteria, judging procedure and prizes and the scheme is widely publicised to attract entries.

Entries are judged and an award ceremony is held to focus publicity on the winning entry and the themes behind the awards.

Procedures are refined and the awards held on a regular, often annual, basis.
awards poster
Sample award poster

Spreading the word
Spreading the word
Securing an award, or even just being considered for an award, can generate publicity for a project which can help with funding and other support.

  • Financial incentives are not usually necessary. People will enter for the prestige. But a good plaque or framed certificate which can be publicly displayed will be highly valued.

  • High profile patrons are very helpful in attracting entries and getting publicity. eg Royalty or local mayor.

  • Use schemes to develop a catalogue of case studies for information exchange.

  • Judging can be highly educational. Have as many judges as possible and get them to visit short-listed schemes. Such visits can be valuable for both the judges and local projects.
  • Local schemes: few costs involved. National schemes can be complex and involve considerable administration. The more successful they become, the more administration is required to ensure fairness and impartiality. Great scope for sponsorship.
Sample local and national award certificates

local award
local award

Sample judging criteria for community projects checklist
  • Need or value
    The project's value to the community for which it is designed.

  • Community involvement
    The quality of community involvement in the project's initiation and development.

  • Design
    The appropriateness of the design solution adopted.

  • Sustainability
    The ability for the project to be maintained over time.


“The awards are an uplifting experience. They raise the spirits of those of us who are fortunate enough to be shortlisted. They raise the horizons of those who miss out this time but look on and think ‘we could do that’ and have a crack next time. And they raise the profile of our kind of work
amongst a much wider audience than we might ever otherwise hope to address.”
David Robinson, Director, Community Links, London
Acceptance speech, 1.3.1994
“All over the country there are remarkable groups of people working incredibly hard to make a real difference to their communities. The whole object of these awards is to reward and recognise all these unsung heroes.”
HRH The Prince of Wales,
Chairman, UK Community Enterprise Awards, 1995




Last updated on: 8 August 2008