The most vulnerable homeless youngsters in Bradford will receive extra help from a new project, funded with more than quarter of a million pounds of National Lottery cash.

The Reconnect scheme will employ four workers to help the growing number of homeless young people who struggle to settle in accommodation or training because they have to cope with other problems.

Drug misuse, mental illness and severe emotional problems are among the difficulties which hinder people, even when they receive help, said Wendy Showell, the newly-appointed Reconnect project team leader.

The Reconnect project is being set up under the City Centre Project, which already offers a wide range of services to homeless young people.

Wendy said: "Increasingly, our client groups are becoming more and more socially excluded. People are coming with more problems than they were four years ago."

A National Lottery bid was made with these problems in mind, and the £263,599 grant will be spent over three years to provide intensive support to young people with difficult problems as well as homelessness.

A drop-in centre is also planned to offer practical help, such as washing machines or a kitchen, as well as offering the chance for the young people to meet other homeless youngsters.

"Individual needs will be tackled through intensive support work to enable young people to resolve personal issues such as health problems, harassment, lack of confidence or skills, involvement in drug use or petty crime, all of which contribute to their inability to settle into the community."

She said the scheme will create a safe space to help these vulnerable people sort out issues that are hindering their rehousing.

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