COMMUNITY groups in Chelmsford benefitted from £2.6million of Lotto funding last year, it has been revealed.

Among the big winners were the Essex Boys and Girls Clubs, based in Rectory Lane, who were given £405,829 for a project to raise aspirations of youths in rural Essex.

And Home-Start Chelmsford in Roxwell Road, Writtle, who received £365,994 to kick-start a partnership with their colleagues in Witham, Braintree, Halstead and Maldon.

Georgina Rhymes, senior co-ordinator for Home-Start Chelmsford, said the funding had been a real boost.

She said: “A lot of Home-Starts have turned to lottery funding after the county council stopped providing funding to us.

“What the money has allowed us to do is for the first time sign an agreement with neighbouring Home-Starts which will see us meeting up regularly to compare work we’re doing and forging closer links with each other.

“The money will also help the families we work with and has given us more security as it means we don’t have to spend our reserves so we are all very delighted for the lottery’s generosity.”

Home-Start is one of the UK's leading family support charities.

Nominations are now being taken for the awards with TV presenter John Barrowman, the host of last year’s ceremony, urging people in Chelmsford to have their say.

Mr Barrowman said: “Everyone in Chelmsford who plays the National Lottery should be proud of the difference their money is making in the local community.

“If you know of a Lottery-funded organisation that deserves to be nominated, we want to hear from you.”

The deadline for entries is at midnight on March 12.

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