REEL Cinemas - with sites in Blackburn, Burnley and Chorley - has been given a £1.5million grant from the government's Culture Recovery Fund.

Rawtenstall's The Whitaker museum receives £179,900 to ensure its project to create a vibrant heritage hub for the local community can continue.

The £1.57billion fund is to support cultural and heritage projects and businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest final round of grants includes £13.5m to revive heritage sites across England and more than £5m to support independent cinemas.

Reel Cinemas, which is developing new multiplexes in Blackburn and Burnley town centres, receives the cash to support its existing 13 sites.

They include the cinema in Hollywood Park in Burnley and Market Walk, Chorley - both closed by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Major grants have also gone to 33 cinemas and The Light Cinema chain. The grant recipients were chosen by the British Film Institute.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "From restoring Georgian lidos and Roman baths to saving local screens and synagogues, our Culture Recovery Fund is helping to save the places people can’t wait to get back to, when it is safe to do so."

KC Suri, Head of Reel Cinemas, said: “It has been very important to us to pursue all opportunities to protect the jobs of every staff member at Reel Cinemas, and to enable the cinemas to reopen, when permitted, to continue to serve our communities.

"This is why we want to thank the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the BFI who have awarded us this grant.

"This vital funding will enable us to protect job security and to manage our business sustainability at this challenging time.”