A LITERACY charity which helps schoolchildren across the district with their reading skills has merged with a similar organisation.

Bradford-based Reading Matters primarily provides one-to-one support to secondary school pupils, through volunteer mentors and an accredited leaders programme.

It has now joined forces with national charity, Beanstalk, which offers similar help to youngsters in primary schools and early years' settings.

The move will enable more pupils to be supported.

In the past year, Reading Matters has helped 6,497 children and young people district-wide.

Rachel Kelly, for the charity, said: "We are very proud of the difference we make to young people's life chances.

"This merger will strengthen our programmes and resources and enable us to support even more pupils who are struggling with reading.

"We are very much looking forward to growing the volunteer base, developing our programmes and changing the lives of many more children and young people."

Reading Matters programmes are now being delivered under the Beanstalk brand and staff have been transferred.

Ginny Lunn, chief executive officer of Beanstalk, said: "Both organisations want to help children and young people to become confident readers, and the more reluctant or struggling readers we're reaching, the better.

"By merging, we are bringing the expertise of two charities under the one Beanstalk brand and will reach far greater numbers."

Young people's literacy in the district has also received a boost with a £197,000 donation from the Morrisons Foundation.

The grant, to the National Literacy Trust, will support a programme of activities which has been running for five years.

During that time, the trust has worked with over 200 schools in the area.

The campaign is being rebranded as Bradford Stories and over the next year will focus on addressing literacy issues facing families, including engaging dads and male carers in their children's learning.

It will also highlight the benefits of bilingualism.

Imran Hafeez, manager of Bradford Stories, said: "We're absolutely delighted to have been awarded this funding to continue our work to raise literacy levels in Bradford district.

"Since launching the campaign, we've delivered lots of inspiring projects and achieved great results, but there is still more to be done to ensure every child in the area has the literacy skills they need to succeed.

"With this new funding, we can expand the work further and reach more people."

The Morrisons Foundation, set up by the supermarket giant in 2015, awards grants for charity projects which help to improve people's lives.

It has so far donated £15 million to causes across Britain.

Foundation trustee, David Scott, said: "We are delighted to be supporting the National Literacy Trust's work as we know what an important difference this can make for families from across Bradford."