AN education worker will spread an important message of tolerance among school children in East Lancashire, thanks to a lottery windfall.

Supporters of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation are recruiting for the role, after receiving £29,000 from the Big Lottery Fund in conjunction with the Lancashire Telegraph.

The Haslingden-based charity, established in memory of the 20-year-old student who was killed in a gang attack seven years ago, was one of 12 beneficiaries of the £250,000 awards scheme and is now seeking the right candidate.

Sophie was targeted because she dressed differently and so far the foundation’s educational efforts have concentrated on secondary schools. The latest phase will work with younger children.

Sophie’s mother Sylvia Lancaster, who established the charity, said: “This is an exciting time for us as we can now further our reach into primary schools and the demand for our work with younger people can now be realised.

“Thanks to local support we are pleased to be able to work in East Lancashire before rolling the programme out to other parts of the country.

“The success of our secondary school educational work has been overwhelming as Sophie’s story has such an important anti-bullying message that it is having a very powerful impact on students. It changes and challenges prejudiced mindsets, teaching understanding and acceptance of ‘difference’.”

The closing date for applications, which can be made to the charity’s offices in Deardengate, Haslingden, is Monday, February 24, with more details on their website – www.sophie The Lancashire Telegraph Community Cash Awards were launched last summer, giving community groups a chance to bid for lottery grants of £10,000 to £30,000.