AYR'S Gaiety Theatre is set to benefit from a £340,000 investment from South Ayrshire Council as part of a new three-year programme.

The money will be used to fund the Ayr Gaiety Partnership, from April 2018, and help develop the existing cultural, skills and employment programmes to even more people across South Ayrshire.

Funding is expected to help The Ayr Gaiety Partnership and South Ayrshire Council attract visitors to help boost the local economy.

Since taking ownership of The Gaiety in 2012, Ayr Gaiety Partnership has been working to provide access to arts and culture for as many people as possible.

The Partnership has become Scotland’s first Learning Theatre in conjunction with University of the West of Scotland and Ayrshire College.

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The Gaiety’s ‘Ayrshire Rural Touring Network’ is already actively connecting with communities across rural Ayrshire and aims to deliver over 100 shows over the next two years.

Councillor Brian McGinley, said: “We have a valued relationship with the Ayr Gaiety Partnership which we are keen to cement still further.

"Ayr Gaiety has generated nearly £2 million for the local economy thanks to its impact on town centre businesses, so it’s key to the continued regeneration of Ayr.

"The partnership has supported 40 people into employment and hundreds of people have attended their inspirational workshops.

"We are already working with the partnership to reach out to communities to limit social isolation and provide employment opportunities and this work can now be expanded.

"We will continue to work closely with The Ayr Gaiety Partnership so that they continue to deliver their successful development activities, within the context of the council's continually reducing funding settlements and increasing financial constraints."

Jeremy Wyatt, Chief Executive, Ayr Gaiety Partnership added: “South Ayrshire Council’s investment has, and remains the foundation of our social enterprise, providing the core theatre operation and outreach activity.

"There has been tremendous cross-community, cross-party support and national recognition for what Ayr Gaiety Partnership have managed to achieve in just five years.

"We are delighted that South Ayrshire Council has committed further investment over the next three years."

Councillors also agreed to offer a loan of £650,000 over five years to the Ayr Gaiety Partnership if required.