Executive Member for Recreation, Heritage, Countryside and Rural Affairs, Councillor Edward Heron, has approved the funding at his decision day on 12 January. He said: “We were faced, last year, with the very difficult decision to close eight of our libraries to ensure that the best possible service could be maintained at the other 40 libraries across the county. It has been very heartening to see the communities in these areas pulling together, to enable library services to continue in a different way. In these very financially challenging times for local authorities, positive action from volunteers adds enormous value to the services that the County Council provides. I hope that, through these grants, we can help these new Independent Community Libraries to be a great success.
“Hampshire Libraries continue to provide a wide range of services to communities all over the county, recognising the role that access to books, learning opportunities and social activities play in people’s wellbeing. We are very pleased to be working alongside community groups who share our values.”
As part of an ongoing transformation of Hampshire’s Library Service, designed to make savings and respond to the changing needs of customers, eight County Council-run libraries were closed at the end of 2020. Community organisations have been offered the opportunity to take on closed branches and deliver services through them as Independent Community Libraries.
The County Council has offered one-off pump-priming awards of up to £10,000, intended to support start up and transition costs. Applications have been received from five organisations to date for such funding, totalling £50,000.
The applications have come from the following organisations:
- Elson Community Library and Hub
- Horndean Community Association
- Lee Hub – Independent Community Library
- Lyndhurst Community Association
- Odiham Parish Council
Councillor Heron has declared a potential conflict of interest in the application from Lyndhurst Community Association. The decision on this grant will therefore be made by the Executive Member for Commercial Strategy, Human Resources and Performance, Councillor Stephen Reid, at his decision day on 19 January, and is detailed in the Grant Funding to Culture and Community Organisations in Hampshire Decision Report available on the County Council’s website.
Read the full report for the 12 January Decision Day.