MILLIONS of pounds have been plunged into good causes, thanks to lottery funding in the region.

National Lottery grants worth £6.5m were invested throughout Darlington and Stockton during 2013.

Local arts, sports, heritage and community groups in the area benefited from cash boosts that will be used to boost good causes and projects.

Groundwork North-East received a grant of £327,868 to improve the confidence and self-esteem of young people in deprived areas while the Firthmoore and District Community Association was given £9,850 to refurbish their cafe and the Darlington Foster Care Association was granted more than £1,000 to put on music workshops for looked after children and their carers.

The organisations and projects which received funding could go on to gain national recognition for their work as nominations for the National Lottery Awards 2014 get underway.

To put forward a project for recognition, visit