Community groups in Dorset are being urged to bid for their share of millions of pounds worth of coastal funding. 

The government has announced it will invest a further £40million into supporting communities along Britain’s coastline in the latest round of its Coastal Communities Fund (CCF), and South Dorset MP Richard Drax is now encouraging community groups and organisations to apply for a share. 

The funding aims to boost economic growth and jobs by attracting even more visitors to the coast as ‘staycations’ become increasingly popular. 

Mr Drax said: “This new funding will help attract even more tourists to our coast and help our seaside towns and coastal areas thrive.

“With so many Brits choosing to stay at home for their holidays each year I am pleased that Swanage Pier Trust will receive £500,000, boosting the local and regional economy, and I would encourage other charities and community groups in South Dorset to see how they could make use of this fund.

“Yesterday’s announcement shows that we are delivering for coastal communities and are committed to providing the support they need to thrive.”

The south west benefited from nearly £25 million in the first three rounds of funding. Dorset County Council’s Dorset Coast Forum was awarded £5.6 million to deliver its ‘Dorset Coastal Connections - People and Places’ scheme, comprising 18 co-ordinated projects between Christchurch and Lyme Regis with a goal of connecting people to the coast.

The fund has provided £170 million to 278 regeneration projects across the country, and has seen two million more people spending an additional £171 million visiting coastal communities. It has also helped to create more than 5,000 new jobs. 

Coastal tourism is reportedly worth around £8 billion to the economy each year, and the renewed commitment by the government will allow businesses and organisations to benefit from an employment boost. 

Applications for funding open in early 2018.