A NEW initiative designed to bring culture within the reach of Burnley residents looks set to be launched later this year.

Burnley Council are working on a new 'culture strategy' after the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said it expected all local authorities to prepare a document by December.

It follows recommendations in the Task Force report into the Burnley Riots that the cultural diversity of Burnley needed to be recognised and valued more.

The aims in the initiative are to promote the cultural well-being of the area and to provide a clear rationale as to why the council funds, manages, supports, encourages or regulates certain services and activities in the town.

The benefits of the strategy should include focusing on the cultural needs, demands and aspirations of local communities to ensure quality and access for everyone.

The strategy will cover art, sport, libraries, museums, heritage, archives, architecture, crafts, children's play, reading, parks, tourism and countryside recreation.

Other activities such as entertainments, design, fashion, food, media, visiting attractions could also be included.

It is expected that the publication of a Cultural Strategy document will cost somewhere in the region of £3,000.

Councillor Tony Lambert, chairman of the social welfare and leisure overview and scrutiny committee, said: "This is a government policy that is supposed to improve the well-being of people and justify why we spend money and choose the events we do.

"We have to have the strategy in place before the end of the year, so we will have to wait until it is finalised before we discuss what it will actually mean.

"Although it is not linked directly to the Task Force report, it does say that more needs to be done to organise activities that bring people together."

The council will also consult and work in partnership with other public, voluntary and private agencies and the public before the strategy is complete.