The UK Film Council's Capital and Access Fund for cinemas has awarded $939,400 (£475,000) to 56 independent cinemas across the UK. Grants ranged from $1,008 (£510) to $69,221 (£35,000) per cinema.

Some of the largest awards went to Aberystwyth Arts Centre Cinema, Cardiff's Chapter Cinema, the Glasgow Film Theatre, the RBS Screen Machine in Inverness, and the Old Market Hall in Shrewsbury. In London, cinemas funded are the Everyman Cinema Club, Phoenix, Cine Lumiere and MediCinema at St Thomas.

The funds will be used to upgrade facilities (from building refurbishment to new projection and sound equipment) and enhance the cinema-going experience, also for audience members with sensory impairments.

'Independent cinemas often represent the cultural core of local communities, and we hope these funds will make it possible for cinema-goers to enjoy film in a more comfortable environment,' said Pete Buckingham, head of distribution and exhibition at the UK Film Council. 'In many cases these grants will improve access for audiences who are deaf, hard of hearing, or visually impaired, allowing them more opportunities to enjoy the exciting choice of film on offer.'

The UK Film Council's Small Capital Fund had recently awarded $1.4m (£700,000) to independent cinemas for capital projects and $695,000 (£350,000) for subtitling and audio-description equipment through the Cinema Access Programme.