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MORE than 80 community groups have applied for the chance to win a share of £250,000.

The News teamed up with the Big Lottery Fund to offer community groups, after-school clubs, health bodies and parish or town council groups, the chance to win up to £30,000.

The groups had to nominate themselves for The News Cash for Communities Fund stating what they would spend the money on.

A fantastic 81 groups from Portsmouth and the surrounding areas applied for a combined total of £1.6m.

The application time has now finished and a panel of judges, including senior staff members from the Big Lottery Fund and The News, will sort through the applications to come up with a short list.

Mark Waldron, editor of The News, said he is looking forward to seeing the applications.

He said: ‘It is fantastic that so many groups have applied for a chunk of an amazing £250,000.

‘Picking the short list will be difficult but it will interesting to see what the groups are planning to do with the money.

‘It is great that we’ve had such a good response.’

From September 16, the short-listed applications will be published in the newspaper.

Readers will then be able to vote on which groups get the money they want, until the £250,000 pot is gone.

The winners will be announced in The News on October 7.

Dharmendra Kanani, Big Lottery Fund England director, said: ‘The high level of responses from the communities in and around Portsmouth demonstrates people-powered change in action.

‘This gives a real boost locally to know that so many people want to support others.

‘We have had a fantastic response from the News readers.

‘The applications are being assessed as we speak.

‘Good luck to everyone who has applied.’

So far, the Big Lottery Fund has given tens of thousands of pounds to groups in the Portsmouth area.

One of these groups was Connor’s Toy Library which was given a grant of £291,782 to help provide a safe environment for parents and their children.