Relief as Library Trust receives huge funding boost
SWINDON’S libraries will remain open as more than £350,000 of council money has been ploughed into them.
Following the council’s adoption of the town’s library strategy in December 2016, £357,000 worth of grants has been approved that will keep every library in Swindon safe from closure.
Four parish councils – Stratton, Wroughton, Central North and Central South – will share £212,000, the Hindu Temple and Community Centre will benefit from £20,000 and Swindon’s only Library Trust will secure £112,000.
Library Trust Chairman, Coun Dale Heenan, said: “The £112,000 grant is great news for local residents and our local Libraries because it makes our ideas a reality. It was the single largest bid agreed by the council, and shows the amount of effort that we have put into the process.
“As Swindon’s only Community Library Trust, we have ambitious plans for Covingham Library and Liden Library which will see longer opening hours, professional Library staff working with volunteers, and many activities and outreach events to increase visitors of all ages and encourage more children to read for fun.
“A partnership with the Open Door Centre will see the two charities running a new Community Cafe run in Liden Library, and we aim to work closely with local schools and Swindon 105.5 Community Radio.
“Any resident who joins the Library Trust for £5 per month will receive benefits such as free book reservations whereas the Council charges £1 per book.”
Local groups or individuals had until January 31 to submit expressions of interest in the non-core libraries and to apply for a share of £500,000 in transitional funding allocated to help meet the set-up costs of viable community-led library services.
Seven groups applied for a total of £357,000 in transitional funding. The remaining funding will be used as a reserve to help support the development of the future delivery model for the core service.
Sue Tucker, a trustee of Swindon’s Library Trust, described securing the £112,000 funding as “a big relief” and “a weight off our shoulders
She said: “This one-off grant sounds a lot but every pound has been allocated to building and library improvements to help cut costs and provide new opportunities to raise income.
“Fundraising, support from the community and continued help from the two local parish councils will be crucial in keeping these libraries open because we still need to pay rent, utility bills, staff, and most important of all, our plans include spending more than £6,000 per year on new books.
“Our second community event last month raised £800, and included a Gruffalo Story Time and Tea Party which was attended by 33 local children. The Library Trust’s next event is a Summer Harvest Fayre and family barbecue on Saturday 2nd September so fingers crossed for good weather, and a big turnout.”
Residents interested in hearing more about the Library Trust can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Trust’s stall at the Covingham Park Primary School Summer Fete and Circus during the afternoon of the July 2.