Dorchester beer festival Beerex has donated almost £20,000 to local causes.

The festival, organised by West Dorset Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) and Casterbridge Rotary Club, raised £19,932 in February which has now been divided up and paid out to a number of local charities and organisations.

Dorset Mind was the main benefactor, receiving £7,000 to assist with the mental health of younger, more vulnerable people.

Chief Executive of Dorset Mind, Marianne Storey, said: "Dorset Mind is so grateful for the incredible donation of £7,000 received recently from Dorchester Beerex. The event itself went extremely well and our staff and volunteers enjoyed attending it, whilst also being able to spread awareness about the vital work we do locally to support people in Dorchester.

"We have two local projects for adults - a twice-monthly mental health talking support group that helps people to improve their wellbeing and an ecotherapy project named 'The GAP Project' which is based at Loud Mills allotments.

"Both projects are essential, they are inclusive and invite people to share experiences and tools to help build self-esteem, self-confidence - and reduce isolation. In addition to this, we support young people in schools such as Dorchester Middle School and Thomas Hardye.

"Dorchester Beerex's support will enable us to make a huge difference in the area to people's lives and especially in the current situation when the demand for mental health support has never been greater."

The Chairman of Dorchester Beerex Festival 2020, Les Fry, said: "We are delighted to be able support the Dorset Mind Charity with a donation of £7000 from our very popular event which was held in February earlier this year.

"Dorset Mind is a pioneering local charity that educates, challenges mental health stigma and inequality while promoting recovery from mental ill health. They have been providing mental health support and education in Dorset since 1946.

"This is done this by empowering individuals of all ages to understand the recovery process and by assisting them to develop resilience. The charity is at the very heart of the community, shaping futures and changing lives."

The Dorchester Youth and Community Centre received £2,600 which will go towards keeping the youth club nights open.

Other benefactors of the festival included Keep 106, a community based radio station in Dorchester, Dorchester Town Youth Football Club, Dorchester Age UK, and the YOU Trust, a local charity that supports and works with victims of domestic, sexual and violent abuse.

Mr Fry added: "The Dorchester Arts Centre will also receive money which will go towards the Early Years project, a subsidising project to enable less well off parents to send their children to performing shows.

"This amazing total would not have been possible without sponsorship and customer support."