A new scheme to reduce the number of young people in care in Lancashire has been announced, thanks to more than £2.1m of lottery funding.

This follows a successful bid by Lancashire County Council to the Life Chances fund, a Big Lottery Fund scheme delivered in partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

So far £80m has been awarded across the country to tackle complex social issues through the scheme.

The county council will use the funding to reduce the number of young people looked after by its social care service in Burnley, Pendle, Preston and Hyndburn.

These districts have been chosen for the six-year project, as they have the highest number of children and young people looked after by social care.

The grant will also be used to support young people to develop skills to improve their life chances.

County Councillor Susie Charles, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, said: "This funding is tremendous news.

"Demand on children's social care in Lancashire and across the whole country has increased in recent years. There are now over 2,000 children in care in Lancashire.

"For many, care is the best option. However, with this funding, we will be able to provide support to prevent a number of young people needing to be taken into care in the first place, and ensure that some people who receive care now will not need to continue to be looked after by social services in the future.

"The funding will also provide extra support to help children develop skills such as literacy and numeracy to support them with their education and career.

"We expect this grant will provide much-needed support to more than 650 children and young people."

The county council will set up a new service to deliver the scheme. The service will commission providers who will decide what to do to reduce the number of young people in care or improve their life chances.

The type of support will be very specific depending on the young people's circumstances. Providers will be paid based on the results of their work.

The new service should be in place towards the end of 2019.