YOUNG children learning to read across Blackburn with Darwen will benefit from a £250,000 deal to supply families with free books.

The council has signed a new agreement covering the next three years with a charity which supplies the volumes for infants.

Its Library Service will now be able to continue the Bookstart scheme, running in the borough for 20 years, after confirming its continuation with national organisation BookTrust.

The charity works with the library and staff from children’s centres and health visitors and schools to provide free books and parent/child reading resources with packs first handed out to families of babies by health visitors at their six to 10 month development checks.

Treasure packs for older children aged three and four are handed out at children’s centres, nurseries and pre-schools.

The £250k funding originates from Arts Council England, and the new deal will see the scheme rolled out locally until March 2022.

Dominic Harrison, Blackburn with Darwen Council's director of public health and wellbeing, said: "This is a fantastic, free contribution to the social, health and educational wellbeing of our local children. We aim to reach every child in the borough."