A mental health charity and a Portland community project are among the groups saying 'cheers' after sharing in a £26,000 charity pot.

Dorset brewer Hall & Woodhouse awarded money to 22 local causes through its Community Chest Awards.

The annual awards are an initiative created by the brewer with the ambition to improve both the facilities and the lives of people in the community, by providing grants to local voluntary groups and causes that require financial support.

The 18th annual awards ceremony was held at Hall & Woodhouse’s Crown Hotel, Blandford.

Recipients included Dorset Mind which received £1,500 to provide a rain shelter and a compost toilet for the mental health charity’s ecotherapy group called the ‘GAP’. This project aims to help people develop positive mental health through therapeutic gardening.

Portland-based Island Community Action received £2,500 to support communities through its ‘Silver Island’ scheme that helps people aged 50 and over marginalised through poor physical and psychological health, social deprivation and poverty. The grant will also be used to fund the ‘Forget-Me-Not’ Songsters, a choir created to support those with all forms of memory loss including people with dementia. The money donated by H&W will fund an entire year of activity for the charity.

Luccombe Hub gets £3,000 to allow the Milton Abbas-based charity buy laptops and similar equipment for the children and young people that use the Hub’s services.

The Hub provides a therapeutic, alternative form of education for children and young people who are unable to access mainstream education due to a range of social and communication problems, that can result in challenging behaviour.

Other local recipients include Dorset Scrap Store (£500), Friends of Milborne St Andrew First School (£975), and Read Easy Bridport (£420).

Mark Woodhouse, Family Director of Hall & Woodhouse, said: “We are tremendously proud of our Community Chest Awards and the thousands of people it has helped since it began 18 years ago. We wanted to create a grant-giving initiative that would support local worthy causes across the south and help make their visions become a reality.

“When we review the applications made to the Community Chest, it is always a very difficult process as there are so many worthy causes in need of aid. Ultimately, we select the charities that require our support to provide long-term benefits to the wider community.”

Applications will be open for the 2020 Community Chest awards in March where voluntary groups can request funding ranging from £300 to £3,000 to help them achieve their aims. Grants could be awarded for new equipment, training, transport or running costs, and can be made towards youth services, the elderly, or any other projects that enhance the local community.

The full list of the Hall & Woodhouse 2019 Western Area Community Chest winners are:

• Blackmore Vale RDA—£1,000

• Blandford Fashion Museum—£1,615

• Club 21 (Poole)—£300

• Devon Freewheelers—£1,000

• Dorset Computers4carers—£1,200

• Dorset Mind—£1,500

• Dorset Scrap Store—£500

• East Dorset Parkinson’s Branch—£500

• Fernheath Play—£1,000

• Friends of Milborne St Andrew First School—£975

• High Mead Farm—£1,500

• Island Community Action—£2,500

• The Luccombe Hub—£3,000

• Poole Harbour Canoe Club (Riverside Wimborne)—£1,000

• Read Easy Bridport—£420

• SAMEE (Support and Mentoring Enabling Entrepreneurship)— £1,658

• Shaftesbury and District Carers Association—£300

• Shaftesbury District Girl Guiding —£1,000

• SMILE Connect—£1,000

• Spendable CIC—£2,557

• Sturminster Newton Community Learning Centre—£500

• Yeovil Freewheelers EVS—£1,000