DORSET libraries have been awarded £70,000 of Arts Council England and National Lottery funding to expand the range of arts activities on offer.

Together with other grants, Dorset Library Service has more than £140,000 for its two-year market Gillingham and Weymouth libraries will receive the funding and will work with The Arts Development Company to establish ‘artistic and cultural hubs’ in the towns.

Through the project, there will be eight paid artist residencies programme and 16 events showcasing programmes for specific community groups.

Cllr Deborah Croney, Dorset County Council’s Cabinet member for skills and learning, said: “This is such an exciting opportunity and I am really pleased that Arts Council England has awarded this grant for the Dorset market and coastal towns’ innovative project.

“The libraries will work together with local people and with their partner, The Arts Development Company, to develop exciting arts and cultural activities which will encourage local people to visit their library.

“Most importantly, local people will be involved in artist residencies, creating artistic content, and taking part in creative events throughout the two years.”