MORE than 50 community organisations have received a slice of a £48,000 Hampshire County Council handout to mark 100 years since the start of the First World War and the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

The money has been awarded to organisations encouraging and providing opportunities for individuals and communities to benefit from a project, activity or event to commemorate these historic milestones.

Funding of between £200 and £2,000 to help match-fund community-led projects and events has been made available through the Hampshire Commemorates scheme, which forms part of the raft of events and initiatives planned by the county council to mark the anniversaries.

Councillor Keith Chapman, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for culture, recreation and countryside, said: “Hampshire and its communities played a unique and internationally significant role during both the First World War and D-Day.

“These grants have been awarded for projects that engage communities in the commemorations and help them understand the role of their local area.

“In February, Full Council set aside £100,000 from the 2013-14 budget to support this programme, including £50,000 of grant funding, which will also complement the national programme backed by Government.

“Among our preparations, in addition to this grant scheme, are a number of key projects which include The Big Theme 2014 commemorative programme – a Hampshire Solent arts, museums and heritage partnership, supported by Arts Council England.

“Poppies will be planted at some of our country parks and other locations, including Milestones Museum, in Basingstoke, Manor Farm Country Park, in Bursledon and Royal Victoria Country Park in Netley.

“A special D-Day event is also being planned at Lepe Country Park, featuring a parade along the seafront, a cliff-top memorial service, re-enactments, guided walks, and more.

“This wider commemorative programme across will continue during the 2014-18 period, and the county council is working in partnership with the National Museum of the Royal Navy to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign in 2015 and bring back to life the historic HMS Monitor M33 which served there.”