A DORSET-based brewery has extended the deadline for charities to apply for a share of £50,000.

Hall & Woodhouse, an independent family-owned brewer founded in Blandford in 1777, has extended the deadline for applications to its Community Chest Awards to May 17 to give more charities the chance to submit an entry.

The awards, which were set up almost 20 years ago, aim to give communities a helping hand, and local voluntary organisations in regions where Hall & Woodhouse operate can apply online for grants up to £4,000 to support their cause.

A total of £50,000 has been pledged by the brewery and a grant can go towards improving a variety of different aspects of the local area, for example, by helping the youth, elderly, disabled, arts or environment.

Lucinda Gray, company relationship manager and next generation family director of Hall & Woodhouse, said: "We understand that the pandemic has inflicted new pressures and hurdles for the charity sector to overcome. We acknowledge that many teams are continuing to operate with reduced staff and we feel it is imperative to provide extra support and time needed for applications to be submitted.

"As we enter the recovery phase of the pandemic and its various lockdowns, we are keen to hear from local charities and community groups that sit at the heart of their communities. No cause is too small and we want to reach those that will be relied on now more than ever as we return to some normality.

"In particular, we know that initiatives which boost mental health such as sports and youth clubs as well as village halls, community farms and extracurricular school activities, all have important roles to play as the government restrictions ease."

Since 2002, the Hall & Woodhouse Community Chest has donated over £650,000 to more than 800 causes across the south of England and is backed by the Dorset and Sussex Community Foundations.

Its pubs locally include the Duchess of Cornwall Inn at Poundbury, the Smugglers Inn at Osmington, the Ship Inn on Weymouth quayside, the Red Lion at Winfrith, the Martyrs Inn at Tolpuddle, the Crown Hotel in Blandford, and the Lulworth Cove Inn in Lulworth.

Application forms can be downloaded via www.hall-woodhouse.co.uk/community-chest and then emailed to communitychest@hall-woodhouse.co.uk for consideration.