A NORTH Durham charity which supports people with ME has received a £170,500 grant.

ME North-East, in Chester-le-Street, which was formed last year, received the grant from the National Lottery's Charities Board.

The award will fund a three-year project to deliver support to carers and their families.

Jennifer Elliot, group coordinator, said it was dealing with about 1,000 cases of the debilitating illness in the region, but it was thought there could be anything up to 4,500 cases in the North-East.

She said: "This disease affects a lot of people. About two thirds of sufferers get no advice from their GPs on how to manage ME, so groups like us are vital to them.

"Sufferers should try to remain optimistic and not give up. Much has been achieved, and we are learning more about ME all the time."

ME North-East acts as an umbrella for support groups across the region, including one in Derwentside.

For more details, contact Ms Elliot on 0191-388 4228.