FIFTY charities in the region are celebrating after receiving grants from the Lloyds TSB Foundation.

The foundation works with some of the most disadvantaged people in the North-East and supports charities working with all sections of the community, including the elderly and children.

This is its first round of donations this year and more than £1m will be distributed in the North-East throughout the year.

Among those to benefit in this round of grants is Saltburn Methodist Church which gets £5,000 towards installing disabled access to its community building.

The Seaham and District Training Trust in Durham gets a £15,000 hand-out which will help pay running costs of its young people's centre.

The North of England Victim's Association, which helps people affected by crime, will get £9,000.

Peter Ellis, the foundation's regional manager for the North-East said: "This is our first round of donations in 2003 which will support charities working at grass-roots levels to improve the lives of people in local communities.

"Our local presence means we can ensure that funding is reaching the areas of greatest social need.

"I look forward to a successful year of grant making and working with charities in the North-East."

Cable, Cockerton's community association in Darlington has been given £5,000 to help with its general costs and the Teesdale and Weardale Search and Rescue Team will put its £6,000 grant towards a new rescue vehicle and equipment.