A COUNCIL has restructured its grants scheme in a bid to make the money go further.

Spennymoor Town Council has launched a new Community Grants Scheme, which will be open for applications from April 1.

This new scheme totals £19,000 and follows the success of last year's S137 Grant Funding Scheme, which saw almost £15,000 allocated in the area.

It will be administered from three separate cash pots.

Firstly, the council has allocated £9,300 to organisations and events it supports every year such as Spennymoor Town Band, Heritage Banner Group, Gala Committee, Drum Head Service, the Remembrance Parade and an annual bus trip for senior citizens.

The second part of the fund allows up to £5,000 worth of room hire at Spennymoor Town Hall for community groups and charities to take advantage of.

In order to take apply for free room hire, groups need to contact facilities manager Colin Ranson in writing, giving details of the organisation, resources required and why.

That leaves £4,700 for grants of up to £100 for an individual and up to £500 for a community organisation.

People need to apply for these grants and meet a set of criteria.

Town clerk Katherine Hierons said all funds, in whichever category, must be used for the benefit of the residents of the Spennymoor area, including Middlestone Moor, Tudhoe, Kirk Merrington and Byers Green.

She said: "In the past everyone has had to complete an application form but going forward those events and groups that regular get our support will receive funding automatically, cutting down on the paperwork for them."

This has included the council applying and paying for road closures for the town's summer gala or organising transport to Durham Miners' Gala, rather than handing over a cheque.

Mrs Hierons added: "The room hire fund gives structure to arrangements and puts a value on it, making it easier for Colin to generate income at the town hall.

"The idea behind the individual and group grants scheme is to make the best use of the funds being made available, so more residents and group of the Spennymoor parish can benefit from it.

"In the past, if a couple of groups applied for a large sum early on the allocated funding went half way through the year.

"Overall, there is more money available and the council is trying to spread it further."

For details contact the council on 01388-815276.