REEL Cinema in Widnes has been given a lifeline as part of the government's Culture Recovery Fund.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced the final awards to be allocated from the first round of the £1.57billion pot to help leisure and hospitality businesses bounce back from the Covid era.

The Reel Cinemas chain will receive £1.5million in 'vital funding' for its 13 venues, including the Venture Fields Leisure Park site.

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 from the Culture Recovery Fund. This vital funding will enable us to protect job security and to manage our business sustainability at this challenging time.”

The BFI, along with National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England and Arts Council England, are currently assessing applications for the remaining £400 million in funding from the Culture Recovery Fund, which was held back to allow the government to support organisations through the Spring and Summer.