A charity supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged families has been given a grant to help keep a presence in the area after the closure of its local branch.

Home-Start West Dorset was forced to close its doors last year after 15 years due to a lack of funding. Home-Start Wessex immediately stepped in to extend its reach to cover West Dorset.

This includes Dorchester, Weymouth, Portland, Bridport and down to Lyme Regis, along with its existing area of east Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire.

The charity is 'incredibly grateful' to Weymouth & Portland Lions, which has stepped up with a £900 grant. This contribution will enable Home-Start Wessex to fully expand its work into Weymouth and Portland by training much-needed volunteers to support families in the area.

Sally Smith, Grants Partnership Manager from Home-Start Wessex, said: “For the last 28 years, we have provided family support to local vulnerable and disadvantaged families with at least one child under five.

"We are working hard to keep up with demand, so that is why this £900 grant from Weymouth & Portland Lions Club is so important for us and will help us fully expand our services into this area of Dorset.”

Lions club president Ryan Hope said: “One of the main principles of every Lions club worldwide is to help children in need. I feel that this grant will achieve that aim. So, where there is a child in need, there is a lion.”

Home-Start Wessex was set up 50 years ago and has supported more than 1.5m children. Ninety per cent of the families the charity supports are single mums, and 85 per cent of families the charity supports suffer from mental health issues.

The Weymouth and Portland Lions Club was formed in 1969 under the Lions International motto and has members from all walks of life who work to help those in need in the community by raising money.

Home-Start West Dorset closed its office on Kings Road, Dorchester in November 2023, and staff were issued with redundancy letters.

For further information about the work that Home-Start Wessex do in the Weymouth and Portland area and ways in which you can consider becoming a volunteer, visit the website at www.homestartwessex.org.uk