RESIDENTS are being invited to apply for grants which can make a difference to their local communities.

Last year, a total of £80,302 was available for what are called 'Locally Important Projects'.

A similar figure is expected to be available for the second round of applications.

The scheme is funded from the Government's New Homes Bonus and managed by South Lakeland District Council (SLDC).

The council says it enables groups to carry out projects such as building renovations, play area enhancements and footpath improvements.

Under the New Homes Bonus scheme, the Government matches the additional council tax raised on new properties and on buildings which have been bought back into use.

It also provides an extra £350 for each affordable home and local councils can spend the bonus in line with community wishes.

Communities to benefit from the last round of the scheme included Skelsmergh and Scalthwaiterigg near Kendal.

It received £21,000 for a new footpath and cycleway on a busy stretch of the A6.

Also Hallgarth Community Centre in Kendal received £26,000 for the first phase of the creation of a new community area.

Others awarded grants were:

* The Bryce Institute, Burneside (£3,500)

* Burton-in-Kendal Parish Council (£5,850)

* Casterton Parish Council (£11,526)

*  Coniston Parish Council (£1,500)

* Holme Village Hall Management Committee (£10,000)

The council said potential projects must involve infrastructure improvements which support a 'clearly identified community priority'.

Community groups interested in bidding for funding from SLDC can visit

Organisations which are eligible to apply for funding are parish councils, town councils and community organisations.

The closing date for applications is May 7 and decisions on funding applications will be made towards the end of June 2014.