A CASH fund of £100,000 for community groups in the Stanley area has been set up.

The Stanley Community Fund is an annual investment pot created by the town council to help local groups and good causes to improve the lives of people within the town boundaries.

It was launched at a recent event in The Venue attended by groups, clubs and organisations.

Stanley Town Council leader, Councillor David Marshall, said: “Stanley Community Fund is designed to support requests that are charitable, educational, philanthropic and benevolent in purpose, ultimately, projects that will impact positively on the people of Stanley.

“We have intentionally kept the parameters of the fund wide, which means we can back environmental projects, schemes for young people, local charities, minor infrastructure projects. If it’s good for Stanley, we will do our best to back it.”

The fund will support requests from groups that deliver work schemes, skills development, access to employment, community-led activities, actions to improve the health, wealth and wellbeing of residents.

It will also focus investment on improving surroundings, biodiversity and habitat conservation, and redevelopment of areas for community use and benefit.

Cllr Marshall added: “This fund will help Stanley improve safety, enhance the environment, create activities for young people and regenerate forgotten areas, and perhaps most importantly, it will help engage local people, and create a sense of ownership in the Stanley, empowering communities to participate.

“This is not a temporary, time-limited funding pot. Our plan is to make sure the Stanley Community Fund is around for generations, bringing benefit to the people in the Stanley area for years to come.”

Bids can be submitted for investment between £2,000 and £10,000, but a new small grants pot worth £35,000 is also being launched to support smaller projects.

Where a maximum return on investment can be achieved, grants over of £10,000 may also be considered.

Kevan Jones, North Durham MP, said: “This is a fantastic project that allows the people of Stanley to set their own local priorities and bid for money to fund the projects that matter most to them.

“I’m delighted and proud to be able to support such an innovative and proactive initiative and it would be great to see other town and parish councils following this blueprint to channel investment into the heart of our communities.”