VICTIMS of domestic violence and sufferers of lung disease will benefit from a grant worth thousands of pounds.

Darlington women’s refuge Family Help CIO and the Breathe Easy charity have been awarded £3,000 each from the Lloyds Bank Community Fund after beating off competition from other groups in the area.

The refuge, which offers safe accommodation and works to encourage family bonding, will put their money towards social activities for the families they help.

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Refuge manager Susan Degnan said: “We look after all ages, women with children and babies all the way up to pensioners.

“Whatever the age or the culture, anybody can suffer from abuse.

“We can put the money towards hiring a bigger bus for a day out like to the seaside where they can enjoy themselves. It’s great.

“We offer a nice environment here at the refuge but often we have lots of females living together, and the days out give them a chance to get out and do something different.

"Receiving £3,000 was fantastic; the families will benefit immensely from that money and give the opportunity to have some bonding time together.”

The Breathe Easy charity, supported by the British Lung Foundation, helps those living with lung conditions and offers support and advice to sufferers and their families.

It runs support groups in the area offering activities such as exercise classes and coffee mornings.

Their share of the money will be used raise awareness of lung conditions and to help towards the costs of campaigning.

James Edwards, speaking on behalf of the charity, said: “It is early days at the moment but we are hoping to create an introductory DVD that will promote awareness of lung disease.

“One in four people have lung disease without even knowing so we are hoping that the DVD can be played in waiting rooms and during visits to community centres as part of an awareness road-show that will help us to spread the word.”

Lloyds Bank provided funding to 1,332 community groups in England & Wales through its Community Fund in 2013.

In Darlington, First Stop – an organisation helping the homeless, and Darlington RA Juniors football club also received £300 each.

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