TIME is running out for Swindon projects and charities to apply for grants that will help them bring lasting benefits to their communities.

The Gannett Foundation hands out thousands of pounds every year to groups in the areas served by its newspapers.

Last year Swindon and Cricklade Railway was able to buy two defibrillators with a £1,690 grant from the charitable arm of Gannett, which is the parent company of the Advertiser’s owners, Newsquest.

In 2016 the Open Door was awarded £840 to allow it to expand its service and offer more training for adults with learning disabilities, including the chance to gain AQA qualifications.

Meningitis Now, which is based over the border in Gloucestershire also won a special award of £5,000 to support medical research into the condition.

That year more than £300,000 was given out to good causes up and down the country and over the past decade alone the foundation has donated nearly £4m.

Adver editor Pete Gavan said: “Gannett grants are a great way for projects that benefit the area to boost their funding.They are also a very good way for newspapers like the Adver to support their communities.”

The deadline for applications is October 8 and the panel will meet to discuss them next month.

The foundation said: “We value practical and creative projects that bring lasting benefits to the communities and neighbourhoods served by our newspapers and online audience.

“That includes schemes for neighbourhood improvement and local problem solving, economic development, youth development, education and cultural enrichment, care of the elderly or infirm, help for the disadvantaged or disabled, and environmental conservation.”

Most applications are for modest amounts but the panel will consider worthwhile projects on a bigger scale. Preference is given to projects that will create a durable legacy for the community. In the past grants have helped to pay for hot meals for the sick and elderly, theatrical equipment for community halls, village hall refurbishments and tumble driers for a homeless shelter.

Applicants must be registered charities and must not have had a grant from Gannett within the past two years. The foundation will not offer funding for salaries, professional fees or day-to-day running costs, projects with political or religious objectives, schools other than special needs and hospitals other than hospices.

Applications must be submitted on the approved application form which can be seen on the Advertiser website Send the completed form and supporting documents to ian.parker@newsquest.co.uk

Submissions on paper are not encouraged, but if unavoidable, they must be sent to Swindon Advertiser, 1 & 2, Richmond House, Edison Park, Swindon SN3 3RB.

All applications must arrive by 5pm on Monday October 8 2018.