A VISITOR attractions is set to make a comeback, thanks to a financial boost from a community fund run by a major supermarket chain.

The Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative has been shortlisted to receive cash from the Tesco Bags of Help scheme which distributes money raised by the store group through charges for plastic carrier bags.

The project involves creating a new wooden sculpture, in the shape of the word Sshhh, to replace the original carving, which was the most popular installation on the sculpture trail around the Mere.

The old sculpture, created in 2011 by artist John Merrill, was removed last summer because the wood had rotted.

Now volunteers are planning to install the new work later this year in the same spot in Cremorne Gardens.

Funding will be made available from the Tesco scheme, which is run in partnership with the Groundwork environmental charity.

Two other community projects in the region have been shortlisted to compete for grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000, and customers are being asked to vote on how the grants should be allocated.

Len Graham, chairman of the initiative said: “We’re delighted to be chosen by Tesco for this wonderful Bags of Help scheme and we’re very grateful to the community of Ellesmere for supporting our project.”

“The old Sshhh sculpture gave enormous pleasure to many thousands of visitors to the Mere, particularly children, who used to enjoy scrambling over the carved wooden lettering and having their photographs taken.

“There was huge disappointment when it had to be taken away because of the effects of the weather and natural deterioration.

“We now have the chance to replace the sculpture in local oak which will be more long lasting.

“This will mean that Sshhh 2 can be enjoyed by local people and visitors for many more years.”

Voting is open in all Tesco stores throughout January and February.

Customers will be able to cast their vote using a token given to them at the checkout each time they shop.

Tesco’s Bags of Help project has already delivered more than £63 million to more than 20,000 projects across Britain.

Tesco customers are given the chance to vote for three different community groups every time they shop.

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.”

Groundwork’s national chief executive, Graham Duxbury, said: “Bags of Help continues to enable local communities up and down Britain to improve the local spaces and places that matter to them. The diversity of projects that are being funded shows that local communities have a passion to create something great in their area.

“We are pleased to be able to be a part of the journey and provide support and encouragement to help local communities thrive.”

Funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities.

Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online.

To find out more visit www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp