Local projects and good causes are being encouraged to apply for a share of the final pot of money to be given away in 2019 by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company’s Community Fund, which opens today (October 1st).

The Community Fund has donated more than £72,000 to 47 different community projects and charities based in Mid and West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly since it was launched.

Entries for the final round of 2019 are being accepted from today, with the closing date for applications set as December 30th.

This year has seen two of the Community Fund’s biggest donations yet – to Cornwall Samaritans and Clean Ocean Sailing – who shared almost £7,000 between them.

Cornwall Samaritans used the money to pay for its lifeline telephone service, which answers call from people who are suicidal or in crisis, to operate for an entire year.

Environmental campaigners Clean Ocean Sailing returned to the Isles of Scilly to continue their work protecting the islands’ wildlife from deadly marine plastic.

Now the Community Fund is inviting applications for further grants, with a potential top gift of £10,000.

 Sam Hicks, Chairman of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group’s Community Fund, said: “It’s wonderful to hear of the success stories from groups we have supported and I hope it helped them sustain and grow the good work they were already doing.

“Many people are unaware that we have this pot of money to give away as part of an estimated £1 million the Steamship Group returns to the community ever year through subsidised travel for islanders, NHS flights, sponsorships and charitable donations.

“I’d like to invite organisations to apply for round 9 of the Community Fund and look forward to reading the applications.”

In 2018 alone the fund donated in excess of £23,000 to 12 different projects. It was praised as “a force for good” by TV presenter and bushcraft expert Ray Mears, after he visited several island beneficiaries earlier in the year.

The Community Fund, which first launched in 2016, is open to good causes and local projects across Mid and West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Bids to the Community Fund are open to voluntary groups or charities, schools and education establishments, community clubs or societies, and individuals undertaking not-for-profit projects for the benefit of the wider community.

Full details, eligibility criteria and application forms are now available from the Steamship Group’s website. All projects are judged by members of an independent panel.