ILKLEY Carnival is hoping the wider community will benefit from a huge cash boost after it secured a place in the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

The organisation is one of three currently receiving in store customer ‘blue token’ votes from shoppers and could net from £1,000 up to £4,000 from the Tesco community funding scheme which uses money raised from carrier bag sales in Tesco stores.

Three groups - Ilkley Carnival, Wharfedale Festival of Performing Arts and United Response in Harrogate - have been shortlisted to receive the cash award from tokens collected in five Tesco stores between Ilkley, Harrogate and Knaresborough. From November to the end of December, shoppers are invited to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

Chairman Andrew Stacey is urging local people to vote for Ilkley Carnival which will help towards covering capital expenditure costs leaving more profit available to go back into local good causes.

He said: “A vote for Ilkley Carnival is a vote for Ilkley because money raised through tokens will ensure we have the equipment and volunteer training to make the event happen. The carnival is run entirely by volunteers and receives no additional funding. We need to cover costs of marquees and fencing to traffic management training for volunteers and a new website which could act as an income generator.

“In six years Ilkley carnival has raised more than £82,000 which has gone back into our community, however at a cost of over £20k per year to run, any money raised to cover the costs of the event leaves more profit available to hand out to the community.”

Tesco’s Bags of Help project has already delivered over £63 million to more than 20,000 projects across Britain. Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups every time they shop. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding.

Alec Brown, Head of Community at Tesco, said: “Bags of Help has been a fantastic success and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response from customers. It’s such a special scheme because it’s local people who decide how the money will be spent in their community. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see these come to life in hundreds of communities.”