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Second daily signs up to £2m lottery grant scheme

A second regional daily paper has signed up to a £2million joint scheme with the Big Lottery Fund to allocate cash to community projects.

The Leicester Mercury joins the Eastern Daily Press in offering a total of £250,000 to projects in their areas, with individual grants of between £10,000 and £30,000.

A further six titles are set to be announced over the coming weeks.

Mercury editor Richard Bettsworth said he was delighted to launch the scheme this week.

“It’s a great opportunity to help community groups, charities and schools carrying out vital work across our city and county,” he said.

“We know there are plenty of worthwhile projects out there crying out for support and we hope this funding can help them to make a real difference.”

The Eastern Daily Press announced they would be taking part in the scheme earlier this week, with editor Nigel Pickover saying he was “really excited” to be involved.

People involved in community or not-for-profit groups and projects, parish and town councils, health bodies or schools based in the newspapers’ patches have until July 14 to apply for a grant.

A panel of judges made up of someone from the Big Lottery Fund, someone from the newspaper, and a local UK Community Foundation representative will then draw up a shortlist of the best ideas, and readers will then cast their votes on which ones are most deserving during a two-week voting period in September.

The Big Lottery Fund has awarded almost £6billion of lottery funding since 2004. In Leicester, that has included a community garden project at a local library, which was created by volunteers thanks to a £6,129 grant.

The opening of the Jerome Project at Hamilton library in Leicester, which is one community scheme already to have benefited from Big Lottery Fund cash