THE Grays Riverside ward has been selected to receive £1million worth of funding over the next 10 years.

It was announced on Monday that the area had been picked along with 149 other areas in the UK to receive a share of £200million.

The scheme, called Big Local, was launched by the Big Lottery Fund in July 2010 to support local areas.

Residents have 10 years to plan how the money can be best spent to make Grays Riverside a better place, with Grays town centre likely to get a much-needed boost.

It is hoped that in the long-run, the community will be better able to identify its own needs and take action in response to them.

It allows local people to make their own decisions, without big organisations or local government dictating how money should be spent to improve the area.

A preliminary meeting will now be called to bring together anyone interested in contributing to deciding how the money could be spent.

Kristina Jackson, chief executive officer at Thurrock CVS, said “I am delighted Grays Riverside has been selected as one of the areas to receive the award. There is already a strong sense of community in the area, with many individuals and community groups already striving to make a difference. “This funding will make all the difference as residents will receive training and support to help them identify priorities and develop a plan for the Grays Riverside Area over the next 10 years.”

Grays Riverside councillor Val Morris-Cook has welcomed the funding and said she believed the money could be spent on bringing more people into the town centre.

She said: “I think it’s amazing. I’m really looking forward to working with the team. “We have so many opportunities here in Grays Riverside and it’s the start of the future.

“One thing could be to look at the town centre and make it more appealing and get people using it, particularly with the new college opening up.”