Vote for the People's Project

Thirteen is supporting the Billingham Environmental Link Programme's (BELP) push to encourage people to vote for the group to win £50,000 of National Lottery funding for its 'Growing our Community' project.

Port Funding Bid Web

4 May 2018

Update - as an update on the voting, it's just been announced (4 May) that BELP has been successful in its attempt to win funding for its project!

Well done to everyone involved and thanks to all those who voted.

£50,000 funding bid

The BELP is the only project in the Tees Valley to get to this stage of voting and they are calling for your vote to secure £50,000 of National Lottery funding as part of this year’s People’s Projects.

BELP’s ‘Growing our Community’ project, based in the Port Clarence area of Billingham, wants to develop a sensory garden, a hen project and a horticultural training area. The group is one of five in the ITV region in the running for a share of up to £150,000 of funding.

Now in its 13th year, the Big Lottery Fund, ITV and The National Lottery are teaming up to give the public a chance to decide how National Lottery funding should be put to good use in their local area. Designed to celebrate some of the incredible projects the Big Lottery Fund has supported over the past year, 95 community-based schemes across the UK are shortlisted for the funding.

In each region, the three projects with the most public votes will receive grants of up to £50,000. This will help them to continue their work to improve local people’s lives.

On 17 April, BELP will showcase its Growing our Community project on ITV at 6pm.

To be in with a chance of winning BELP is calling on people to support its bid.

Voting is now open at

 If successful, BELP will use the grant to develop:

  • a sensory garden which will enable people with disabilities to further access a Community Garden Project and will enhance the sensory perception for people with disabilities
  • a hen project to work in conjunction with local primary schools and an on-site cooking programme
  • a horticultural training area which will enable us to train young people to become self-employed gardeners with recognised qualifications.

Kevin Pitt, the strategic director who is also a volunteer for BELP, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to raise awareness and support for our work and, with your help, to secure further much-needed funding. We urge local people to get behind us.

"If successful, our project will make a real difference to our local community by helping people who live in social isolation, bringing all ages and generations together in a healthy environment and giving an opportunity to create self-employment in gardening and meeting the needs of an ageing community.

"I can’t stress enough for people to go to, select ITV region and vote for Growing our Community."

Joe Ferns, UK Funding Director of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “As the largest funder of community activity in the UK, we are proud to support grassroots groups that are using the vision, determination and drive of local people to strengthen communities.

"The People’s Projects showcases the best of these and is a chance for you to have your say on how National Lottery funding can benefit your local community.”

Since 2005, around £39 million has been awarded through the Big Lottery Fund, National Lottery and ITV/STV partnership to 865 good causes across the UK.

To support the Growing our Community Project please visit

Or you can vote by post by sending a postcard to ‘FREEPOST THE PEOPLE’S PROJECT’. You need to include: your name, address and telephone number together with 'ITV REGION – GROWING OUR COMMUNITY.

Voting closes at midday on 30 April 2018.