HUNDREDS of Wearsiders will benefit from a bumper lottery cash hand-out.
Community group Back on the Map has been awarded a £428,093 grant towards its take over of the former Hendon Library in Villette Road.
Back on the Map is one of three North East projects to share in almost £890,000 in the latest round of Big Lottery funding.
Back on the Map has received the biggest chunk of the cash.
The group reopened the former library – now renamed the Carnegie Community Corner – in August.
Trust director Jen McKevitt admitted organisers had known for a couple of weeks that the grant application had been successful but had been sworn to secrecy.
“We have known for two or three weeks,” she said.
“We are very excited about it but we have had to keep quiet.”
The bulk of the money will be used to fund community services across Hendon but the grant also includes an element to pay for improvement works on the former library building.
“It will allow us to develop services over the next five years, from July 2015 to 2020,” said Jen.
“It will enable us to do a whole lot more, like providing support for older people, isolated adults and carers. And it will let us help people who are looking for work and do more in terms of help with money management.”
Every penny of the money is already accounted for.
“When you put a lottery application in, you have to go through it to the Nth degree,” said Jen.
“We pretty much know what we are going to do with it – in fact, we know absolutely what we are going to do with it
“There is a £37,000 capital element that will allow us to replace all the windows throughout the building – the windows at the moment are 108 years
“The money will pay for two staff over five years and part of it is to help us to support our volunteers and make sure the centre is able to respond to their needs.
“We are delighted that the needs of the people of Hendon have been taken into account.
“It is a lot of money.”