COMMUNITY project leaders heard how £2million of European money has been dished out in Dorset.

Members of the Chalk and Cheese Local Action Group were informed of the updates during a reception at the new Chesil Beach Centre on Portland Beach Road.

The Chalk and Cheese group, which works out of County Hall in Dorchester, has had responsibility for dishing out money from a fund of £2.065million from 2007 to 2013.

A spokesman said: “The local action group is made up of people who have an interest in their local communities. Meetings are held every two months in venues around the Chalk and Cheese area.

“They are held to give as many people as possible the opportunity to attend and to take part in the decision-making process about how European funds are delivered in this part of Dorset.

“The highlight of this meeting were short presentations from the Portland based project Wreck to Reef, Liberty Orchards from near Halstock and Thorncombe Community Shop from the far west of the county of Dorset.

“They showed just how far reaching, varied and innovative the funding has been, giving local communities the opportunity to develop schemes that could not have happened without additional resources.”

The Wreck to Reef Project is a lobster restocking reef close to Ringstead Bay.

Some 1,700 tonnes of Portland stone were laid in reefs on the sea bed in March as a home for juvenile lobsters.

Chalk & Cheese also provided funding for the fitting out of the former village shop at Thorncombe, which happened two years ago. The shop is now on a stable footing, operating with community involvement and managed on a job-share basis.

The group also funded work at Liberty Orchards.

The project included the creation of a local variety cider apple orchard, as well as the refurbishment of two old farm buildings for the storage and processing of the apples to produce balsamic vinegar.

The next Chalk & Cheese meeting will be held in Bridport in November.

The Chalk and Cheese funding process is almost complete. Now the work will begin to establish the mechanism to receive and distribute European funds over the next round, from 2014 onwards.

To find out more about the Chalk and Cheese Local Action Group visit or contact the LAG programme team at Dorset County Council on 01305 228699.