HAMPSHIRE charities and community groups were awarded almost £125,000 in National Lottery funding last month.

The funding, raised by National Lottery players, is being distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

In total, 15 community projects in the county are receiving a share in this time of crisis, ranging from a medical supplies delivery charity that works across the region, to a drop-in centre supporting the most vulnerable in Aldershot.

WESSEX SERV, based in Waterlooville but working across Hants, is stepping up to support people during this challenging time.

It has been awarded £10,000 of National Lottery funding to purchase a brand-new scooter so it can meet the increase in demand for its free, out-of-hours and weekend medical delivery service across Hampshire, transporting blood, platelets, urgent medical samples and equipment across the region.

Robert Smith, Project Lead at SERV, said: “Thanks to this funding, we have been able to expand our provision and offer more help across the city during these difficult times. We would like to thank everyone who supports The National Lottery and encourage other charities to apply for a grant.”

The Vine Centre, received £10,000 to continue its support for the most vulnerable in the community.

As well as offering volunteer-led telephone support, the charity is also preparing meals, running virtual arts and creativity sessions.

It is also helping local people to find fast-fill jobs needed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic – such as roles in supermarket retail, care work and delivery and warehouse roles.

Emma Boast, from The Vine Centre, said: “The National Lottery funding has helped us to continue to support our existing members - as well as reach new people. More individuals are now realising that 'hard times' can happen to anyone and many are just one paycheque away from poverty.

“Through this funding we have been able to increase and improve our services and we have been able to bring an isolated community together.

"Our services give people a sense of normality and belonging, as well as keeping them safe from making unnecessary journeys - we are getting them food, essential products and providing activities to help their mental health and wellbeing.”

Covid-19 crisis has sparked an influx of groups seeking funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to support their communities through these times.

Overall, compared to the same time last year, requests for funding have increased by 55 per cent, while visits to the funder’s website have shot up by 47 per cent.

The most apparent spike in applications has been for smaller grants, with requests for funding up to £10,000 increasing by 51 per cent year-on-year.