TEN North-East good causes are to receive a £1m windfall in National Lottery grants.

The Big Lottery Fund will today announce funding for organisations that help improve quality of life in the community.

Among those to benefit are disabled groups, community regeneration schemes, older people, women's groups and the terminally ill.

The Bridge Women's Education and Support Centre in Sunderland, which helps disadvantaged women improve their self confidence, will receive £155,000 to bring its work into the Chester-le-Street area of County Durham.

Sheila Davidson, from the centre, said: "We are absolutely ecstatic about the award and it comes at a great time, as we are soon to move into a new building.

"This funding will help us to continue to bring learning into the heart of local communities in the North-East."

Darlington and District Hospice Movement, in Darlington, was awarded £58,945. The hospice opened its in-patient unit in January, with the support of The Northern Echo. The money will enable staff to provide a counselling service for patients, their families and carers.

The Advocacy and Information Foundation, in Middlesbrough, which serves the Tees Valley, was awarded £117,592. It will allow it to extend a pilot project working with the over- 55s into Redcar and Cleveland.

Age Concern Darlington receives £119,091, to fund a full-time advice caseworker and a part-time administrator.

The Regional Refugee Forum North- East will get £205,124 to support refugee groups across the region.

Campain Durham receives £33,616 to support its work across the county supporting people living with chronic pain.