Libraries are to receive a substantial financial boost after two successful funding bids.

Redbridge libraries will receive an extra £65,000 in total after two new projects secured funding.

The funding is welcome news after a period of uncertainty for the future of libraries in Wanstead and Woodford.

In 2015, three small libraries in the borough were under threat as the council grappled with central government cuts.

But the following year, council leader Jas Athwal promised no library closures within the next two and a half years.

Now, the first project, Redbridge’s popular annual arts and literature festival, Fabula, has been granted £50,000 to expand from a two-day event at the Central Library to a four-day event in three libraries across the borough.

Working with the Redbridge Drama Centre and Discover Children’s Story Centre, festival organisers are planning an exciting, interactive programme to coincide with National Libraries Week in October this year.

Iain Varah, a festival organiser, said: “This is a truly innovative project which will bring together thousands of residents and help them see the fantastic activities offered by our libraries.”

The second project, called ‘A World of Recycled Robots,’ is part of Redbridge's Library Lab programme. It has been granted £15,000 by the Carnegie Trust.

As part of the scheme, sessions will inspire children to create and programme robots using recycled materials and affordable electronic components, showing them that robots can be made from materials they would usually discard.

The project also aims to educate children about the importance of recycling.

Maria Reguera, who managed the 'A World of Recycled Robots' project, said: “The Library Lab funding is a fantastic opportunity for us at Redbridge libraries. It will enable us to develop opportunities for young people in Redbridge to access and experience digital technologies not normally available to them.”

Library Lab was set up by the Carnegie UK Trust to support innovation and leadership in the public library sector.

Martyn Evans, chief executive of Carnegie UK Trust, said: “The calibre of the applications we received for our Library Lab initiative was extremely high, making it very difficult to choose just six projects to support. We were delighted to select Maria as one of our winners and we are very much looking forward to working with her.

“Libraries are at the heart of our communities and are vital sources for learning and information. It’s so important to make sure we are investing in projects, and in library staff, supporting innovation and leadership to help build a positive future for our public libraries.”

Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said: “I’m delighted this extra funding has been secured for our libraries, which are an important resource for local people.  These projects are part of our innovative approach to position our libraries at the heart of digital skills and as gateways to learning.”