An early Christmas present totalling £27,000 has been shared by community groups in the Dorchester area.

Pre-school clubs, sports clubs, youth projects and projects for people with disabilities or long term health related issues are among those that have benefited from the car boot funding.

West Dorset District Council collected the income from people who hired pitches at the weekly car boot sales held on Sunday mornings in Fairfield Car Park.

All the income collected is paid into the Dorchester Market Car Boot Fund, which helps local community organisations.

Successful organisation were invited to a celebration tea at the Town Hall in Dorchester to receive certificates handed out by Cllr Mary Penfold, Chairman of the Dorchester Markets Car Boot Fund, and Cllr Tim Harries, Deputy Mayor of Dorchester.

Local community organisations were invited to apply for the funds earlier this year. A panel of town and district councillors awarded the grants from the many applications received.

Successful organisations included the Volunteer Centre Dorset which was awarded £1,000 to support the Volunteer Help Scheme, which carries out household tasks for older people or people with health issues with tasks such as gardening and furniture removal. Kushti Bok – a Gypsy & Traveller led organisation received £250 to organise a memorial day to remember the Gypsy Holocaust, the first service to take place outside London. Dorset County Association of Church Bell Ringers received £800 to develop a training programme to encourage people to take up bell ringing.

Other organisations which also benefited from the funding include: Age UK Dorchester (£500), Charlton Down Cricket Club (£780), Charminster Pre-School (£397.85), Chesil Sailability (£450), Cruse Bereavement Care Dorset Area (£600), Domestic Abuse Welfare Committee (£750), Dorchester & District Amateur Boxing Club (£620), Dorchester Arts (£375), Dorchester Ballet and Dance Club (£92.86), Dorchester Choral Society (£300), Dorchester Community Nursery School (£406.80), Dorchester Community Plays Association (£1,000), Dorchester Disabled Club (£800), Dorchester Men’s Shed (£150), Dorchester Opportunity Group (£500), Dorchester Social Stroke Club (£500), Dorchester Strollers (£200), Dorchester Youth and Community Centre (£1,000), Dorchester Youth Extra (£910), Dorchester, Sherborne & District CAB (£2,000), Dorset Advocacy (£90), Dorset Blind Association (£500), Dorset County Association of Church Bell Ringers (£800), Dorset Race Equality Council (£500), Fizzy Boppers (£500), Friends of Dorchester West Station (£200), Home-Start West Dorset (£1,000), Kushti Bok (£250), Little Giants Pre-School (£500), Martinstown Cricket Club (£500), Piddlehinton United Football Club (£250), Relate Dorset & South Wiltshire (£1,000), Royal Voluntary Service (£500), Screenplay (£2,500), South West Dorset Multicultural Network (£650), South West Dorset Multiple Sclerosis Society (£100), Stratton Youth Club (£1,000), The Grove Pre-School (£500), Try This … Dorchester (£1,000), Volunteer Centre Dorset (£1,000), Weldmar Hospicecare (£150.10) and Women's Action Network Dorset (£1,000).

The grant programme is now closed but will be open again for applications in January.

More information about the fund is available at contact Community Development Team at West Dorset District Council.