CHILDREN on Torridgeside have received a festive boost with an award of nearly £200,000 from the National Lottery.

CHILDREN on Torridgeside have received a festive boost with an award of nearly £200,000 from the National Lottery.

A successful bid by the culture and leisure department at Torridge District Council has brought £199,644 to be spent on local amenities to improve access for children to various play initiatives.

The money will allow the council to develop a three-year programme of community based play projects.

It will benefit the Torridge Special Friends Play Together Project, Children's Activities and Support Programme Playbus, Inside-Outreach creative arts project by The Plough Arts Centre, Carewise Rural Play Project for young carers, Appledore Skatepark project and Northam Youth Project to provide activities for young people in the Northam, Westward Ho! and Appledore area.

Vikki Braddick, culture and leisure services manager, said: " After a considerable amount of time and effort from the local groups involved and the team here at Torridge, it has been a real achievement to gain this funding. Once implemented across the district, it will make a real difference to the way in which our young community interacts with the environment around them.

"In addition to this we believe that the cross-section of projects will allow us to spread the money to as many different areas of play as we are able. The young community of Torridge is certainly going to see the benefits."

Councillor Roger Johnson, lead member for youth, said: "It is extremely important that all children have the opportunity of being children and enjoy play in a safe environment.

" As the area of Torridge district has one of the lowest average wages in the country it is quite understandable that, in many cases, parents just cannot afford to take their children to places that visitors to the area simply take for granted. The money will be distributed in the New Year.