A BID to win £39m of funding for a deprived former mining town will be launched today.

A report by the director of Derwentside District Council, Mike Clark, highlights bids for cash from the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund for a range of projects, aimed at breathing new life into Stanley over the next ten years.

These include redeveloping the King's Head playing field, building a Sure Start centre, a library and a festival site, plus boosting the town's security camera coverage.

Councillor Alex Watson, council leader, said: "This money is crucial to the regeneration of Stanley. We are optimistic that we will be successful with the bid.

"The potential is there and the vision is there. Areas like the King's Head playing field are marketable sites and we know there is a lot of interest from developers.

"There has never been any doubt in my mind that Stanley will be turned around as this interest increases."

The council aims to use the cash to create and safeguard about 1,300 jobs each year, combat crime and reduce urban decay.

All three are big problems to overcome. The Havannah area of Stanley has the highest crime rate in Derwentside and the town is in the top 11 per cent of the most disadvantaged areas in England.

Car ownership is 40 per cent below the national average and the number of vacant retail outlets is 11.12 per cent, more than two per cent higher than the UK average.

The first step in the plans to regenerate the town is underway, with a bid for £2m from County Durham's Urban Renaissance Programme.

This would help fund a £10m wish-list of projects, including £3m to redevelop the bus station, more than £3m to overhaul the Hustledown House site and £2.5m to improve Front Street. Other schemes include £750,000 to refurbish View Lane Park, £300,000 for a community resource and technology centre and £200,000 for signs and gateway improvements.