PROJECTS to generate energy from the River Wear and to help the needy access cheap furniture are among several schemes to share nearly £65,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

Eighty-two projects, including seven in south west Durham, are to share a pot of £675,395 provided via the lottery’s North-East Awards for All kitty.

A total of £62,687 will be split across the North-East groups.

Amongst them are Witton Park Community Association, the County Durham Furniture Help Scheme and Chilton Town Council.

The community association hopes to use its £9,750 of funding to help to set up two schemes.

The first would see a mini turbine fitted into the River Wear at Witton Park to provide energy for the village.

A second proposal would see a wood harvesting site built on land near to the river at Witton Park.

Andrew Charles, secretary of the association, said: “We are looking at a couple of possible energy sustainable schemes but it is still very early days.

“We looked at the River Wear and we thought that there is an energy source which runs 24-hours a day every day and it can be tapped for the good of the residents.

“The other idea was to grow a biomass wood on land belonging to Durham County Council and then to harvest it. We’re out to consultation on the ideas.

“We don’t really want to reveal how much it will cost but we’re very pleased to have received this money from the Big Lottery Fund.”

The County Durham Furniture Help Scheme, at Chilton, supplies furniture at low prices to people in County Durham.

It was given £10,000 to help to run a project to transport customers from rural areas into the Chilton site and home again.

Chris Palmer, managing director of the charity, said: “We’re helping people in rural areas who can’t get to us.

“We are happy to receive the £10,000 from the Big Lottery Fund and it will prove to be very helpful in running the transport scheme."

Chilton Town Council gained £10,000 to go towards a project to pay for play equipment including a roundabout for disabled youngsters in Pentlands Park.

County Durham Residents Association, in Newton Aycliffe, got £10,000 for community events.

Citizen’s Advice County Durham, In Newton Aycliffe, has been awarded £8,288 to pay for new computers and The Oaks Secondary School, in Spennymoor, was given £4,429 for exercise equipment.

West Auckland Town Council secured £10,000 to pay for replacement doors and windows in a community building plus for other activities.

Lyn Cole, Big Lottery Fund deputy director for England, said: “Our Awards for All programme is available to help people in so many ways.

All of the small grants made today will make a huge difference to hundreds of lives across the North-East.”