A NEW charity project in York has issued its first grants.

The International Service Alumni Board's small grants fund was launched at the Mansion House in January by young people who had previously volunteered with the York-based development charity, International Service, and who wanted to continue to make a difference.

Many former volunteers continue to fundraise and to promote the charity after their return to the UK and the new fund is to award one-off grants of money raised by alumni, to support specific small projects currently being supported by International Service volunteers.

There were six applications for the first round, and three were successful. £160 was awarded to a project in Ghana to buy costumes for the Din Nani dance group, which uses drama and dance to educate young people about sexual health. £250 was awarded to buy new catering equipment for the Tigoung Nonma project in Burkina Faso, and £250 was awarded to buy a machine for mixing shea butter, a laborious manual task, in Kabeela in Burkina Faso.

The successful projects were chosen by International Service chief executive Jo Baker, alumni board treasurer Josh Harris, and two recently-returned volunteers.