SANTANDER is launching a new £250,000 fund for local charities in the region, with Herefordshire and Worcestershire two of the first counties in the UK to benefit from the scheme.

The Santander Community Fund will provide grants of up to £5,000 for projects that help disadvantaged people in the area.

The scheme is open to small local charities or local projects of national charities with funding available to cover salaries, equipment or materials. Charities must be registered in the UK.

Nominations can be made by visiting any Santander branch in the region and completing a Community Fund nomination form. The closing date for nominations is October 12 and entries will be considered by a panel of staff drawn from across the region with grants awarded in November.

Alison Varney, Divisional Managing Director, Santander said, “We’re keen to hear about those small, local charities in Herefordshire and Worcestershire where a grant of up to £5,000 could make a real difference to help people in the area.

“Through the Santander Foundation we make hundreds of donations every year to good causes around the UK for education and financial capability projects.

"This new fund has been set up to support a broader range of initiatives, along with a quick and simple application process specifically designed for small charities.”

The Santander Community Fund is being piloted in the region before being launched nationally in 2013 with a £1million fund.