COMMUNITY groups and voluntary organisations are being urged to apply for lottery funding after more than £500,000 was granted to local bodies.
Six organisations in East Durham benefitted from the six-figure windfall thanks to cash from the Big Lottery’s Awards for All scheme.
St Mary’s Church Hall, in Blackhills Terrace, Horden, was a major winner in the handout, scooping £469,779 from the lottery’s Reaching Communities Fund to regenerate the building into a modern community hub, as reported by the Mail last year.
Also picking up a massive lottery cheque was East Durham Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB), which has been struggling following funding cuts.
The CAB won £7,360 which was spent on sending a team to help residents learn how to budget better and on new CAB offices in Seaham.
Local CAB chief executive Neil Bradbury said: “That pot of money really helped us out – we struggle with funding every year and every bit helps.
“I would encourage other groups to apply for lottery funding, especially in the current financial climate.”
Other groups to benefit were Castle Eden Village Hall, Durham Deafened Support, Easington Colliery Methodist Church and Murton Welfare Allotment Association, which all received grants of between £7,000 and £10,000.
Easington MP Grahame Morris welcomed the news that the groups in his constituency had fared well in the scheme. But in these times of austerity he urged more to come forward to apply for a chunk of the much-needed Big Lottery cash.
He said: “The Big Lottery Fund provides grants for a variety of community groups and organisations ranging from £300 for small projects to over a million pounds for large-scale projects.
“I hope in 2013 we will see more Big Lottery Funding coming into East Durham, and would urge all community groups and voluntary organisations to consider making an application.
“I would like to congratulate all those groups that have been successful, and been awarded funding.
“I know they will put this money to good use, making our community stronger and life better for local residents.”
To find out more about available grants, visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk