LOCAL charities could benefit from a £5,000 grant as a new community fund is launched today.

The Santander Community Fund is offering shares of a £250,000 pot for the south west to Dorset’s good causes.

The scheme is open to small charities or local projects of national charities with funding available to cover salaries, equipment or materials.

Alison Varney, divisional managing director of Santander ,said: “We’re keen to hear about those small, local charities where a grant of up to £5,000 could make a real difference to help people in the area.

“Through the Santander Foundation we make hundreds of donations every year to good causes around the UK for education and financial capability projects.

“This new fund has been set up to support a broader range of initiatives, along with a quick and simple application process specifically designed for small charities.”

The initiative is being piloted in the south west with a national £1m fund launched in 2013.

Nominations can be made by visiting a local Santander branch and completing a Community Fund form.

Entries will close on October 12 and grants will be awarded in November.