A TWO-YEAR project has received £27,140 funding to tackle unemployment, poverty and isolation through community work on the Portrack and Tilery estates of Stockton.

The Willow Centre will give local unemployed people work experience at the centre and guidance into finding employment.

The centre will offer a luncheon club for pensioners and also a gardening club where people of all ages will learn how to grow their own food. The project idea came from local people.

HealthImprove, a community interest company which aims to reduce health inequalities, raised the money from The Health Lottery and the People’s Health Trust, an independent charity.

Chris Lunn, director of HealthImprove, said: “The projects are extremely valuable to a wide range of individuals across this region; we look forward to hearing more about how these initiatives are enabling people to live longer healthier lives.”

John Hume, chief executive of people’s health trust, said: “We are delighted to be investing in these local organisations with great ideas to make their communities even better places to grow, live, work and age.”

A spokesman for The Willow Centre said people living in the area will now have the opportunity to help design the projects and influence their development.

The fundraising was co-ordinated by Active Communities, an umbrella organisation for community groups and not-for-profit organisations with an income of less than £350,000 a year that are seeking investment of between £5,000 and £50,000 a year, for projects lasting up to two years.

The Health Lottery is operated on behalf of 51 Community Interest Companies across the country, all holding society lottery licenses granted by the Gambling Commission. Go to HealthLottery.co.uk to find out more.