TWELVE community and voluntary organisations in Hartlepool are to receive grants worth a combined total of £172,000.

The grants committee of Hartlepool Borough Council approved the awards from the 2003/2004 community pool.

The community pool was created to offer financial support to groups providing important services to local people.

Councillor John Lauderdale, who chairs the grants committee, said: "We recognise the important work carried out by so many community and voluntary organisations across the town.

"Thousands of people benefit from the support of these 12 organisations and hopefully, the grants approved will help them continue their sterling work." The applications which the council approved were:

* Blakelock Day Care Co-operative; £12,000

* Hartlepool Access Group; £9,516

* Shopmobility; £20,856

* Hartlepool Citizens Advice Bureau; £52,365

* Headland Development Company; £4,000

* Hartlepool Families First; £10,500

* Hartlepool Special Needs Support Group; £1,500

* Hartlepool Voluntary Development Agency; £24,710

* Manor Residents Association; £5,000

* North Tees Women's Aids, Sexual Abuse and Rape Counselling; £13,754

* The Wharton Trust; £13,656

* Victim Support and Witness Service Teesside Hartlepool Branch; £4,100.