A NEW charity fund has been set up to help disadvantaged children in the region.

The Children's Fund is to be managed by the Cleveland Community Foundation and will offer grants from £200 up to £2,000 to locally managed voluntary, community or self-help groups.

The groups should have three volunteers to help with the project and must concern children up to the age of 19.

The projects must fall within one of four themes to qualify for an award. These are:

l Aspirations and expectations - projects that give children experiences or help them to achieve goals that more privileged children take for granted.

l Economic disadvantage - projects that help families to improve their living standards and cope with difficulties that come from being on a low income.

l Isolation and access - projects that help children who are isolated or alone or have trouble accessing services.

l Children's voices - projects that give children and young people the chance to express their opinions and give advice on matters that concern them.

Anyone wanting to apply for a grant can call the fund's local network call centre on (0845) 1130 161 or call Michelle Smith on (01642) 314200.