The government has announced it will provide around half a million pounds to support the Family Library for the next five years.

A schedule has been agreed which will gradually reduce the support over the term of the agreement while the charity develops alternative income streams.

An initial grant of £125,000 will be supplied in August, with annual sums tapering before a final instalment of £65,000 concludes the arrangement in August 2026.

A total of £475,000 will contribute towards the continuation of services, which include the Mobile Library, Children’s Library and Home Delivery Service.

The annual payments will be taken from the Bona Vacantia Fund, a trust containing the funds of ownerless property which, by law, has passed to the Crown.

Treasury Minister David Ashford said: ‘The Family Library plays an important role for many in our community and I’m pleased that the arrangement will secure the future of services over the next five years while the charity explores how it will operate into the future.’

Family Library director Kurt Roosen added: ‘The Family Library is very grateful to the Treasury team in reaching a pragmatic and structured solution, and pleased that the efforts of our people are recognised as an important contributor to community wellbeing.

‘We will continue to build on that trust that has been placed in us now we have some longer term certainty in which we can properly plan ahead.’

Douglas South MHK Sarah Maltby also took to social media to express her excitement at the news.

‘I have been bursting to tell people this news since last week when the business case landed in front of me and the rest of the Treasury board for a decision,’ she wrote. ‘A plan for five years, a great outcome!’

Previously, the Family Library faced the threat of closure after losing government funding in June 2021.

The charity requires an annual budget of around £250,000 to operate.

It undertook an urgent review to consider its options at the time, up to and including the closure of all existing services which would have affected nearly 2,000 subscribers across the island. The service was axed by the government 10 years ago in response to the VAT income loss. Since then, it has been run as an independent charity with a sole benefactor providing half of its money.

The gap was plugged by government funding, with the findings of a select committee review due in late 2019. These findings were ‘indefinitely delayed’ and the funding provision expired.

Last year, the Family Library made a heartfelt appeal to keep going.

A spokesperson said at the time: ‘From our oldest outreach client who is 105 years old, to some of our youngest babies, our unique combination of services really do serve the needs of both young and old to be mentally active through books and activities.’