A NEW project in Bradford giving shelter to ex-offenders on release from custody has been awarded £367,381 Big Lottery funding.

The money going to the Bradford Cyrenians' Support to Offenders Project (STOP) comes from the Lottery's Reaching Communities pot.

There are also ten other community projects across the district getting up to £10,000 each in the latest round of lottery grants totalling more than £3.7 million nationally.

Rubina Bokhari, Cyrenians chief executive officer, said the funding would help it provide 12 one bed furnished flats across the city in partnership with Accent Housing.

Men and women aged 18 and over who are in and out of prison on short sentences will be referred to STOP to allow them to access the accommodation and six-months intensive help to turn their lives round and avoid going back behind bars.

Ms Bohkhari said: "This is a chance for them to pick up new lifeskills that will help them become tenancy ready to get their own place and to get into work. This is prevention work to break the cycle of re-offending."

This is the second cause for celebration in four months for the Cyrenians. In December last year the charity received more than £250,000 of Government funding to modernise its 40-year-old hostel in Manningham.

Other projects benefitting from the latest Big Lottery grants are an Independent Lives Club at The Haycliffe Centre in Little Horton, which is getting £10,000 to run a series of sports and activity sessions for young people with learning and physical difficulties.

St Cuthbert and The First Martyr's Catholic Primary School in Scotchman Road, Manningham is getting £10,000 to create a secret story telling garden to help develop communication skills while a Young Food Detectives project at E3 Sports Network, Bradford, is getting £10,000 to encourage healthy eating through family workshops.

West Bowling's SHINE project in St Stephen's Road will use its £10,000 to employ a development support worker to reach out to the most vulnerable people in its community and SureStart BHT's £10,000 will buy outdoor play equipment for youngsters with disabilities at its venues in Tyersal, Bierley and Holme Wood.

The Joshua Project in Great Horton plans to use its £10,000 to run dance, boxercise, musical activities and trips out for its young people from different cultures, helping community cohesion.

The Female Institute for Relief & Entertainment in Bradford is getting £9,880 to deliver exercise sessions and a health advice service to women as part of its Go Ahead project and Bierley Community Association is getting £9,873 to put on a Saturday activity.

Finally, the Creative Stroke Recovery Group that meets at the Delius Arts & Crafts Centre in Great Horton Road gets £8,005 to put on weekly social sessions to boost people's wellbeing.

Lyn Cole, Big Lottery Fund England grant making director, said: “So many local community organisations are enabling people to spring forward and make positive changes to their lives. It’s wonderful when we get to hear the stories of how through these projects people have overcome barriers, learned new skills and improved their lives.”