ALMOST £100,000 found under a bed in a derelict home the day before the furniture was due to be set alight has been donated to good causes in Dorset.

The money - cash totalling £90,000 - was discovered at an abandoned care complex in Sterte Mount, Christchurch on March 17 2015.

Firefighters who made the discovery were preparing the premises, which had been empty for around 18 months, for a training drill.

The hidden bounty was handed over to the police. Despite an 18-month investigation, the owner of the cash was never identified and the courts formally awarded the money to Dorset's Police and Crime Commissioner under the Police Property Act.

As a result, the money has now been reinvested into initiatives which benefit the safety of Dorset residents.

Some of the amount has been awarded to the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service for a series of community projects.

The service will use £6,000 to support the implementation of a 'firewise community co-ordinator', matching funding provided by the Urban Heath Partnership.

A further £39,000 will support Dorset charity SafeWise. The organisation provides realistic and immersive learning experiences for visitors.

Money given to the charity will be used to fund a volunteer co-ordinator.

Rob Hattersley, CEO of SafeWise, said: “The money from the PCC is fantastic timing.

"Funding a volunteer co-ordinator will kick start our new strategy, making an exciting new range of programmes accessible for many more visitors. "Without our dedicated and valued team of volunteers, SafeWise wouldn’t be able to have such a positive impact and reach so many members of the community.”

Fire service area manager Craig Baker said: “I’m really pleased the PCC has recognised the great work of SafeWise and the Firewise Community Initiative and approved our funding proposals.

"Both projects offer education and support to actively involve residents in the safety of their communities.”

The remaining £45,000 will be invested into the PCC’s 'safer Dorset fund community grant scheme', which provides financial support to voluntary and community sector organisations delivering projects that meet objectives in the police and crime plan.

Grants of between £100 and £3,000 are available and applications are now welcomed.

PCC Martyn Underhill said: “Since I introduced it in 2015, the community grant has provided support to a large variety of projects in the county, all of which meet a community need and contribute to keeping the people of Dorset safe.

"I am pleased that this money will contribute to the fund, as it puts the decision making power into the hands of Dorset residents, who understand their communities best.”