ALMOST £1,800 is being awarded to nine community groups in Weymouth and Portland for their Olympic Torch Relay celebrations.

The amounts, which range between £180 and £200, will aid local festivities when the London 2012 Olympic flame arrives in the borough in July.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and the Weymouth and Portland Partnership has agreed to allocate £1,765.54 through a small grant scheme, to nine groups, following an application process that began in February.

Communities across the borough are busy planning a range of events and activities to greet the Olympic Flame and celebrate the occasion.

The nine chosen causes, include Churches Together on Portland which is planning to provide refreshments and hot food for those gathering to watch the torch relay as it passes through Southwell, Easton and Fortuneswell.

The Friends of Greenhill Gardens will be decorating the gardens with flags, balloons and bunting while St John’s Church, with the Waterside Community Forum, will be providing refreshments and hospitality.

Weymouth College and Weymouth Bay Methodist Church will be running a celebration event, with street bands and dancing, on the grass areas next to the Lodmoor Car Park.

The area will be decorated with bunting and flags and refreshments will be available.

Westham Community Group will be working with Synergy Housing and Dorset County Council to organise transport and seating for residents from local sheltered housing wanting to watch the Torch Relay.

Portland parents’ group ‘iPlay’ is gearing up to hold a free Mini Olympics for families, involving sports, games and refreshments in the YOI Governors Gardens on Grove Road.

iPlay trustee Sue Ashe said: “We’re going to keep the celebrations going into the weekend by holding our event on Saturday July 14.

“The funding is going to help immensely to ensure we can get all the equipment in place and perhaps buy some medals, it’s going to be fun.”

Gary Fooks, deputy head of the Weymouth and Portland 2012 Operations team, said: “The arrival of the Olympic Flame in Weymouth and Portland will give local people an opportunity to really feel part of the Olympic Games and to come together to share and celebrate what is truly a unique and special occasion.

“It is fantastic to see so many local people organising events for the torch relay and showing their support for the inspirational torchbearers who will be carrying the Flame through their communities.”

Chairman of the Weymouth and Portland Partnership, Anne-Marie Vincent added: “We are very happy to support these events.

“We hope the grants being awarded will help to really make the Olympic Torch Relay an event to remember for the borough.”