A LEARNING and well-being zone in a Bradford church is marking the start of a new project - thanks to a Lottery grant.

Earlier this year, the non-religious Open Door Community Project, based at St Oswald's West End Centre in Christopher Street, was awarded £222,243 to build on its good work in the Little Horton area and it is now ready to celebrate what the money has meant.

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

And it meant the centre was able to expand its services by getting people more involved in community-based opportunities, gaining more skills and improving their job chances.

It also meant the centre could afford to take on two new full-time paid workers to run its schemes and groups and increase its opening hours which means people in the area have somewhere to go to learn and socialise, from Monday morning until Friday lunch-time.

The learning zone promotes skills in English, mathematics and IT, with people being able to use the internet for information and to do job searches and then on the social side there's the No More Diet group focusing on long term health eating and life change to relaxation sessions and the Feel Good Friday group for the over 50s.

Fran Holgate, who is the West End Centre's community development and monitoring officer, said the project would help people develop new skills and find work or ways to improve the quality of their lives.

Since June, 40 more people have taken up its services.

Centre manager Christine Mann said the new services were much needed in the area because of the correlation between unemployment and the downward spiral that can follow affecting people's health.

She said: "We actually started the project in June but this week was our official launch where we invited other agencies and groups who support people to come along to our open day to see what we can do to help them and share what they do so we can all work together.

"The benefits will be massive to this community."