THOUSANDS of pounds have been awarded to groups in Dorset which encourage and inspire young people through sport.

Dorset Community Foundation teamed up with Made By Sport, a national charity, to distribute more than £32,000 in grants to clubs and groups working with young people to develop life skills, improve job prospects or reduce anti-social behaviour and crime.

Many local clubs across the county have been hit hard by the pandemic.

Buckhorn Weston Cricket Club near Gillingham will use their £2,021 grant to launch two new junior teams for ages four to eight and eight to 11 as part of an England and Wales Cricket Board initiative.

Treasurer Chris Sledge said the grant will cover the cost of equipment and maintenance after the club lost a year of fundraising.

He said: “The funding will make us properly equipped to coach and encourage young players to learn, enjoy and become proficient at playing cricket and to benefit from their interactions with each other and with their coach.”

SturYouth Club in Sturminster Newton will coach older members to become junior leaders and then get them to organise outdoor activities at Dorset Forest School over the summer holidays.

Youth worker Dawn Ball said the club has not been able to meet for a year because its base is on Sturminster Newton High School’s site.

She said: “We want to introduce something new and exciting to the young people of Sturminster Newton. and something that will not necessarily confine us to a building.”

TLW Dance in Shaftesbury was awarded £2,021 for its TLW Dance Foundation, which has been set up to help young people from low income families who can’t afford to pay for dance classes.

The group, which teaches dance at all levels, runs vocational classes for young people who want to take their talent as far as they can – often to acclaimed dance schools.

Staff member Tim Ovenden said: “Disposable income for extra-curricular activities has reduced following the pandemic.

“At the same time, the decrease in physical activity due to the lockdown and social distancing means that young people need to get and keep moving. Dancing provides the perfect physical activity and now is not the time for children to have to stop or reduce the number of classes due to financial limitations.”

Dorset Community Foundation director Grant Robson said: “These grants will help these brilliant groups use sport and physical activity as a force for good, encouraging and engaging young people and giving them a focus for their energy. The great thing about these activities is that they give youth workers an opportunity to build up trust and respect with young people and that allows them to make a real difference in their lives. We are very pleased to be able to play a part in that.”

Find out more about the Dorset Community Coronavirus Fund at