ALMOST £7m will be injected into communities across east Cleveland over the next three years thanks to Government grants.

The borough of Redcar and Cleveland has been allocated £3,472,138 for both 2004/05 and 2005/06 as part of a regional package of £106m shared among 14 authorities.

The identification of projects is carried out by groups under the auspices of the local strategic partnership, the Redcar and Cleveland Partnership, now in its sixth year.

David Walsh, council leader, said: "This news is really welcome. It augments our mainstream programmes and allows ourselves and our partners to carry on innovative work in areas that are not totally the council's responsibility, but which are important to us.

"These include improving public health, cutting down on crime and disorder, greening the local environment and making sure our older people have a more secure future."

Professor Brian Footitt, chair of the partnership, said: "This is a positive endorsement by Government of the commitment to partnerships already working for the benefit of the people of Redcar and Cleveland.

"This additional money will allow us to develop our inter-agency work with local neighbourhoods throughout Redcar and Cleveland."

One of the most successful projects to benefit from the Renewal Fund is the Community Safety Warden Service, which now has more than 40 wardens covering every area of the borough.