Dorset County Hospital Charity is bidding to bag a massive cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 raised from carrier bag sales in Tesco stores awarded to community projects.

Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

Dorset County Hospital Charity is one of the groups on the shortlist at the Dorchester branch, with voting taking place throughout March and April.

The Cancer Appeal is the charity-funded part of a major project bringing radiotherapy services to Dorchester for the first time. In partnership with Poole Hospital, and as a result of a generous legacy from Poole businessman Robert White, a new radiotherapy unit is currently under construction at Dorset County Hospital.

The hospital’s charity is funding a cancer and haematology outpatients department which is being built on top of the radiotherapy unit.

This will serve all cancer patients at the hospital. An important part of the Cancer Appeal is the reconfiguration of the existing chemotherapy unit at the hospital.

When complete this will provide more space for friends and family to sit with patients having chemotherapy treatment.

Simon Pearson, head of fundraising at Dorset County Hospital Charity said: “Tesco’s bags of help initiative is a fantastic way for people to support the Cancer Appeal and is a good opportunity for us to raise the profile of the appeal.

“The provision of new radiotherapy and outpatients facilities in Dorchester will make it much easier for patients to access radiotherapy locally, rather than having to travel to Poole.”

Voting is open in all Tesco stores throughout March and April. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.

Tesco’s Bags of Help project has already delivered over £43 million to more than 10,000 projects up and down the UK.

Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups every time they shop.

Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding.

Alec Brown, head of community at Tesco, said: “We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for March and April. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see these come to life in hundreds of communities.”

Groundwork’s National chief executive, Graham Duxbury, added: “We’ve been thrilled to see the diversity of projects that have applied for funding, ranging from outdoor classrooms, sports facilities, community gardens, play areas and everything in between.

“We’re looking forward to learning the results of the customer vote and then supporting each group to bring their project to life.”

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