COMMUNITY groups in Worcestershire are celebrating after being awarded a total of almost £260,000 in the latest round of National Lottery funding.

The money, raised by players for good causes, is being distributed by the Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

In total, 29 community projects in the county are receiving a share, including city-based Worcester Play Council which will receive £6,900 to provide ‘Fun Squads’ play sessions for school children in the summer holidays.

Chairman of Worcester Play Council Heather Giannasi said: “It was great to receive the funding. We were delighted that they gave us what we were asking for. I have never applied to the Big Lottery Fund for a grant before- It is brilliant.”

Some 18 groups will receive almost £165,000 to transform community spaces.

Thanks to their first ever grant of almost £10,000, SPACE in Suckley will create a versatile space in the village’s church for a variety of community groups to use, including schools and older people. This will provide local people with a welcoming place to take part in activities and events, including school shows, encouraging community spirit and reducing social isolation.

Himbleton Village Hall in Droitwich will use a grant of over £5,000 to transform an unused piece of land into a nature area. This will provide a new and inviting outdoor space for the whole community. With a grant of over £9,000, Ombersley Memorial Hall will replace their existing stage with a more flexible design.

James Harcourt, England grant-making director at the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Whether in a village, town or city, National Lottery funding is helping to make a difference, bringing communities together to help people lead happier and healthier lives.

“It’s wonderful to see the positive impact projects like these are making in Worcestershire. They are an inspiration to others, showing what great things can be achieved when people work together to tackle the things that really matter to their community.”

The Big Lottery Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Last year it awarded almost £713 million and supported almost 14,000 projects across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes. 90 per cent of the grants it makes are for under £10,000.

The total funds available across England this quarter is £41 million.