COMMUNITY groups are 'over the moon' as more than £780,000 is handed out to good causes across the county thanks to the National Lottery.

A total of £787,041.22 has been awarded to 18 community projects that help improve people’s lives in Dorset.

One project that has been awarded funding is Opera Circus, a Bridport-based performing arts organisation that works with young people through arts and cultural activities. The project has been awarded £10,000.

Tina Ellen Lee, of Opera Circus, said: “Over the years the grants have enabled us to work within a number of projects that support developments in local schools and problems that concern communities, particularly for young people. This support is vital."

James Harcourt, England grant making director at the Big Lottery Fund, said: “We are proud to be able to support local projects that make a difference in their communities. Whether the grant is for £500, or £500,000, our funding is used to run amazing projects led by local people. It really is life-changing.”

The funding will be used to support a diverse range of projects enabling people to improve their skills, meet new people and strengthen their communities.

Community projects that received funding in Dorset include:

n Safe and Sound Dorset - Social Inclusion and Self Awareness for Women £9,944

n Melbury Abbas Village Hall Disabled Facilities £5,000

n AIM Community FYT-STOP animation, Bournemouth £9,780

n One Heart Seaing Sunshine, Bournemouth £9,995

n, Poole £2,395.32

n Teens United- Back in Shape, West Dorset £10,000

n Langton Matravers Village Hall- New Boiler System for the Village Hall £4,180

n Opera Circus, Resilience and Empowerment for Our Youth Community, Bridport £10,000

n Broadmayne Short Mat Bowls Club- Short Mat Bowls Equipment Replacement Project £3,585

n Parochial Church Council of St Michael And All Angels Church, Colehill- Resurfacing of Car Park for St Michael's Church Centre £10,000

n Bridport Deaf Club £1201.40

n Myaware Somerset & West Dorset- Addressing Isolation and Increasing Confidence and Wellbeing £6,347

n Swanage Pier Trust- Purbeck Coast community radio £9,985

n Dorchester, Sherborne & Districts & North Dorset Citizens Advice £10,000

n Mi Flamenco, Bournemouth- Moving Towards Health £9,747.50

n Bincombe Valley Primary School, Weymouth and Portland- Forest and Pupil Support Hut £9,900.

n Immanuel Church- Connect 2 Immanuel Community, Bournemouth £412,229

n REFRESH, Weymouth and Portland £252,752