VOLUNTARY and community-based groups can get a slice of the cash from a £20,000 grants fund– which the public will help distribute.

Organisations in the Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP) area have until Friday, September 27 to submit an application to this year’s It’s Up to You fund for grants to help their community.

The fund has helped many organisations over its seven years including the amateur performing arts group, Durham Musical Theatre Company, which received a £2,000 grant from the fund last year.

The money helped the group to keep its performances inclusive and open for everyone to enjoy.

Anthony Smith, chair of the Durham Musical Theatre Company, said: “The grant from the Durham AAP was used to keep our ticket prices as low as possible resulting in 100 per cent ticket sales and full houses for our production of Evita at the Gala Theatre, which went on to be nominated for three National Operatic and Dramatic Society Awards. This has kept us solvent for another year and will allow us to proceed with a production of Chess in 2020.”

The funding is open to not for profit organisations in Durham City, Bearpark, Witton Gilbert, Framwellgate Moor, Newton Hall, Neville’s Cross, Pity Me, Shincliffe, Pittington, Sherburn, Sherburn Hill, Shadforth, Ludworth, Littletown, West Rainton, Brasside, Belmont, Gilesgate and Carville.

Parish and town councils are also eligible to apply for a grant.

Craig Morgan, Durham AAP coordinator, said: “We are delighted to have this funding to improve the lives of local people in our area. We have a pot of £20,000 and people can apply for grants of between £1,000 and £2,000.

“Who gets the funding will be decided by a public vote that is taking place at Durham Town Hall on Saturday, November 23."

For application forms and help to apply call 03000-267205 email dcaap@durham.gov.uk or visit durham.gov.uk/durhamaap