NORTH-East good causes are sharing in £1.4m-worth of grants from the Big Lottery Fund.

About 2,000 carers will benefit from a £374,272 grant to Durham County Carers Support to address issues relating to stress, isolation and confidence.

In Chester-le-Street, the Cornerstones Centre for the Community, part of the town’s Methodist Church, receives £90,000 to continue providing services.

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The grant will contribute to staff salaries to develop courses including first aid, food hygiene and IT to reduce social isolation and improve employability.

Current activities include youth clubs, a credit union, lunch clubs, drama, parent and toddler groups, dance and fitness classes, and support groups for people with mental health problems.

The venue has become so popular that it now opens seven days a week.

A £414,058 grant is going to The Sunderland Centre for Counselling Services. The grant will enable the service to double its capacity to reduce waiting times from ten months to three. It will also develop a targeted male sexual violence service.

The Big Lottery Fund, which has given £1bn in England alone since 2004, is giving £171,288 to Armed Forces and Veterans Launchpad in Newcastle, which helps vulnerable former service personnel. The money will pay for the manager of its accommodation for five years.

MIND Active receives £305,652 to expand its work for older people and those living with dementia in Northumberland.

Tim Davies-Pugh, Deputy Director of England, Big Lottery Fund, said: “Community organisations have been using grants from the Big Lottery Fund for ten years now to make a real difference to communities and people most in need.”