Awards for All grants announced in Norfolk and north Suffolk

Community groups, charities and schools across Norfolk and north Suffolk are celebrating grants of up to �10,000 announced today which will kick-start projects ranging from wildlife gardens and cookery demonstrations, to chain-saw training courses.

A total of 21 local organisations are sharing over �118,000 from a �428,000 pot of Big Lottery Awards for All grants handed out in the East of England.

They include three which have each received the maximum �10,000 award: The Belfry Arts Centre, in Overstrand, DIAL charity in Yarmouth, and Poringland Primary School.

The Belfry, which opened in a former primary school in 2009, has been without heating for three years and plans to use its cash to install a system, and upgrade its toilet facilities.

Artistic director Nora Gaston said she was 'ecstatic' at the news. 'This money is very welcome, especially in the present financial climate,' she added. 'We are trying to make the centre feel as welcome as possible and this will improve our facilities for disabled people.'

DIAL, the Disabled Information and Advice Line, will spend the money on training packages to raise disability awareness among businesses, schools and community organisations, and Poringland School will put it towards a canopy, costing �16,000-�17,000, to cover its outdoor learning area.

Headteacher Richard Burbage said they were absolutely delighted at the award. A canopy would enable their beach-themed area to be used all year round by nearly 100 of the school's younger pupils.

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Other bodies to benefit include the inaugural Aylsham Festival, on an astronomical theme, from June 9-12, which receives �3,000.

Festival organiser, Sue Sharpe, said: 'This festival is quite distinct because it's for everyone. It is a festival of Aylsham and it allows everyone to contribute whether they are a farmer, a musician or an astro physicist. People will get to experience the buzz of a festival but also participate in activities that are more hands on, and hopefully this will attract people to come along who wouldn't normally think that a festival was for them.'

Guests will include Mark Thompson, astronomy presenter on the BBC's The One Show, and writer Garth Nix who writes fantasy novels for young adults.

This summers' revived Worstead Festival has been awarded �9,500 towards the costs of a cookery theatre where local chefs will demonstrate healthy-eating options in one of a number of new attractions at the event.

The awards are aimed at social and environmental projects benefiting local communities and making a difference to the lives of those most in need.