Three North East projects have been awarded almost £600,000 of government funding aimed at preserving local assets.

Museums, historic buildings and parks will be kept alive by the funding package announced on Friday (December 22).

The funding comes from a pot of £25m to fund 72 projects across the UK, although just three are in our region.

It means less than 2.5% of the funding is coming to the North East.

Durham’s listed Redhills building will benefit from £234,305 towards its ongoing refurbishment, although the project is already underway.

Meanwhile, the St Mary’s heritage centre in Gateshead will receive more than £270,000.

The Hamsterley Community Sports Association in County Durham has benefitted from £38,500 to transform the village’s derelict tennis courts into a multi-use games area.

The work will provide football, netball, hockey, basketball and tennis facilities to the local community and primary school, which currently has no sporting facilities.

The Northern Echo: Jacob Young speaks at St Mary's in Gateshead.Jacob Young speaks at St Mary's in Gateshead. (Image: DANIEL HORDON)

Levelling Up Minister and Redcar MP Jacob Young visited St Mary’s in Gateshead to announce the funding.

Mr Young said: “It’s fantastic to be announcing this £25m in funding through the community ownership fund that’s going to fund more than 70 projects the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.

“In the community ownership fund we invite community organisations to bid for up to £2m of funding, although we expect most to be just short of £300,000 and all they need is a match funding of 20%.

“It’s a fantastic scheme.”

But just three of the 72 projects being funded are in the North East, receiving less than 2.5% of the overall pot of money.

Asked whether the funding goes far enough to level up Mr Young told the Echo: “I would say to any organisations in the North East if you want to be successful in the community ownership fund we need you to bid into it.

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“Part of the reason I’ve chosen to make this announcement in the North East is to encourage more organisations here to apply.”

The next funding window of the community ownership fund is now open for bids and will close on January 31, 2024.

The fund has awarded £71.4m to projects across the country since it was launched in 2021.