A VOLUNTARY group which has been running community initiatives for more than a decade has secured the cash it needs to keep up its good work.

Residents from across the former Wear Valley areas, including Wolsingham, Billy Row, Bishop Auckland, Willington and St Helen Auckland, joined The Wear Valley Community Action Group around 15 years ago.

Throughout that time volunteers have worked with organisations such as councils and housing associations in a bid to ensure residents get the best possible services.

In 2016/17 it became an independent group and had to secure its own funding, which has included grants from councillors, organisations including The Gaunless Gateway Project and County Durham Community Foundation and Lottery cash, to carry on working in and around the communities they live in.

It has organised community learning and advice sessions on subjects such as cybercrime, drugs and alcohol awareness, finance, energy and loan sharks.

And it has hosted events with former Durham Chief Constable Mike Barton to give residents an opportunity to discuss policing issues and ran activities such as bus trips and festive parties to bring people together.

Now, the group is celebrating after again securing enough money to survive with confirmation that it has been awarded £7,850 from the Lottery Community Fund.

“The group are going to be very busy this year with a lot of trips, events and community events organised," said a spokesperson.

“If you can, please come along and support the events and the group.

“The group meet on the first Tuesday of every month in Stanley Way, Community Hub, Billy Row, from 1pm to 3pm everyone is welcome. If you have any ideas please bring them along.”

The group has two events planned at Wolsingham Town Hall.

On Wednesday July 10, from 10am to 1.30pm, there will be a free information and advice event and on Wednesday, September 11, from 6pm to 8pm, a community safety event.