COMMUNITY groups across south and west Dorset are celebrating after securing thousands of pounds in grants from The Big Lottery Fund.

More than 200 projects in the South West received a total of nearly £1.75 million pounds in the latest round of Awards for All Grants.

The funds will now allow the charitable groups across Dorset to invest in projects and developments.

Beaches Youth Club in Weymouth was given £6,701 from the fund and will put the money towards developing a new base for the group.

The group, which has been in existence for more than 30 years, started the redevelopment of the redundant toilet block on Portland Road earlier this year following another grant from Synergy Housing Trust and this latest round of funding will allow them to complete the development.

Kate Wheller, Mayor of Weymouth and Portland said: “I am so pleased on behalf of the young people of the Wyke Regis area that The Big Lottery Fund has enabled the completion of the works.

“For so long working out in the open with varying weather conditions made it very difficult to maintain any consistency in the education process.”

Geoff Petherick, chairman of the group, said: “For me it has been a 10 year project to provide The young people with a permanent ‘home’ and I am sure apart from getting wet and cold on some occasions there will now be a greater sense of belonging, ownership and engagement.”

Weymouth Community Volunteers secured £8,042 and will use the money to provide practical skills training for unemployed people.

The volunteer centre in Dorchester also received £6,500 and will use the funding to produce a short film to increase the visual awareness of volunteering to a larger target audience.

Wool and Bovington Scout Group in Purbeck was also given £1,251.

In West Dorset, a charitable group in Bridport that gives tax relief to elderly people has received £9,050 and will develop four introductory tax training videos for partner organisations.

Transition Town Bridport was given £6,091 and will use the money to provide practical food cooking and social activities for parents of pupils from the children centre, Restore Support Network in Dorchester was given £9,700 in grants and will now use the funding to provide mentoring and support for older prisoners who are in the process of being released from jail.

The Lyme Regis Development Trust was also given £8,635.

Lyn Cole, Big Lottery Fund England director, said: “National Lottery money is making a positive impact in local communities, helping to change lives for the better and support a wealth of projects in the South West region.

“The projects demonstrate the life-changing difference a small amount of Lottery funding can have and will continue to do so, long into the future. I wish them all the best of luck”.