MORE than £4,000 has been handed out to three community groups in Darwen.

The grants were made at the weekend’s Darwen Gala under the Crown Paints and Darwen Town Council Community Awards.

The Friends of Square Meadow were given the maximum £2,000, while Cheer Valley Cheerleaders received £1,550 and AFC Darwen Reserves got £750.

Each year, £30,000 is made available, with £20,000 from the town council and £10,000 from the Hollins Road firm, from which community groups and sports clubs can bid for up to £2,000.

The Square Meadow group, which was set up last year, will use the money to help fund ongoing ground maintenance works.

Chairman Harry Blackwell said: “We are delighted to have got the money and our thanks go to Crown and the town council for providing it.”

Cheer Valley Cheerleaders will use their money to help fund a new ‘tumble track’.

Head coach Sarah Williams said: “It is essentially a long bouncy castle so the children can do gymnastics.

“We raised £500 ourselves and they have paid for the rest of it.

“I am really chuffed and now I just can’t wait to get it and get the children on it.”

Players in the reserves at AFC Darwen will be kitted out in new tracksuits thanks to their grant.

Manager Matt Pilkington said: “The first team players are getting paid now so they can buy tracksuits out of that.

“We wanted to do the same but they are £70 a time.

“The money is a big help. It is better when you go to games all dressed the same and looking the part.”

Crown Paints’ Tracy Riley, secretary of the awards committee, said: “It is great to see so many teams, groups and projects based in the local community benefit from the scheme.

“With new applications received in each round, it is a positive sign that not only are there new groups and projects being created in the community, but that the existing ones are continuing to grow and develop.Along with Darwen Town Council, we run the awards three times a year, so there is plenty of opportunity to apply and be considered for an award.”