THEATRE supporters in Burnley and Rossendale are sharing more than £560,000 from the Arts Council to help much-loved youth and family programmes thrive.

An announcement from the arts body has confirmed Burnley Youth Theatre (BYT) and the Horse and Bamboo Theatre at Waterfoot have retained their status as ‘national partner organisations’.

And it also emerged that Burnley-based arts organisation Curious Minds would continue to distribute just over £4million for initiatives and projects across the North West.

Mandy Precious, BYT’s artistic director, said: “This is a fantastic piece of news for us.

“It will mean that we can continue developing our work and reaching ever more children and young people.”

Currently the Queen Victoria Road-based organisation provides access to the arts for more than 600 young people each week, through workshops and outreach schemes.

Bob Frith, founder and joint artistic director of Horse and Bamboo, said that as well as the national funding, the theatre had also been given a capital grant.

This will be used alongside funding from The Foyle Foundation and Lancashire County Council to improve audience facilities at their Newchurch Road home.

Mr Frith added: “It will help us to develop our Baby Boo work with very young children, the Different Moons programme with the South Asian community, and our new touring Hansel and Gretel show.

“The very popular family programme and puppet festival will also continue.”

Under the national awards, BYT will receive £63,365 annually for the next three years, with Horse and Bamboo being given £123,362.

The investment for Curious Minds, at Habergham Mill, Coal Clough Lane, will give arts officials there £1,335,323 to manage each year up to 2018.