A learning zone in a Bradford church is one of nine projects across Yorkshire and the Humber sharing £2.8 million in Lottery good cause funding.

The non-religious Open Door Community Project based at St Oswald's West End Centre, in Christopher Street, has been awarded £222,243 to build on its good work in the Little Horton area.

The award is from the Reaching Communities programme, which gives out grants to help those most in need and build stronger communities.

The money means the centre will be able to expand its services by getting people more involved in community-based opportunities, gaining more skills and improving their job chances.

The learning zone within the centre will be promoting skills in English, mathematics and IT, with people being able to use the internet for information and to do job searches.

Centre manager Christine Mann said: “We have seen the correlation between unemployment and the downward spiral that can follow affecting health, as well as seeing the adverse effects of recent changes in welfare reforms, where people who have been on benefits are now being deemed fit enough and are being plunged back into finding work and all the changes and strains that can bring and adaptions that need to be made.

“The project will be about helping people to up-skill and find work and ways of improving the quality of their lives.”

The Open Door Community Project is having a meeting on Tuesday, March 4, from 1pm for all volunteers and users to go along and hear more about what it hopes to do and to share their own wishlists for the future, said Mrs Mann.

As well as helping with skills, the project will raise awareness about health and well-being including conditions such as blood pressure and diabetes.

The funds mean the project will be able to take on two new paid workers and increase its opening hours.

“It’s not about duplicating what is already being done – it's about building on it,” said Mrs Mann.