The Friends of Wash Common Library are delighted to announce that the library will re-open from 1 December 2018. Following the closure of the library in 2017, a community group known as The Friends of Wash Common Library was formed with the aim of restoring the service.
The group applied through West Berkshire Council’s devolution programme to take over the running of the library. Their proposal was agreed by West Berkshire Council’s Executive on 14 June 2018 after consideration of a report which set out how this service could be sustained by volunteers and included a detailed business plan and fundraising strategies.
Newbury Town Council backed the proposal and have entered into a 5-year lease with West Berkshire Council for the temporary use of the building as volunteer-led library service. The library will cost approximately £8,000 a year to operate which The Friends of Wash Common Library have raised through fundraising events such as coffee mornings, quizzes and author talks and with matched funding from the Good Exchange. They will also be asking for donations from current members of The Friends of Wash Common Library, and hope to get more regular monetary support from members of the local community as more people use the library.
Marcus Franks, West Berkshire Council’s Executive Member for Community Resilience and Partnerships, said, “This is a perfect example of devolution working. We've developed a devolution programme to help sustain locally-led service delivery, and encourage town councils, parish councils and voluntary groups to have an increased role in service delivery.
We are responding to requests from town and parish councils to run buildings which saves the council money at a time when funding is low. Projects like this demonstrate, the huge benefit of active community partnerships”.
Julia Calvert, of Friends of Wash Common Library, said, “West Berkshire Library Service have been extremely supportive in terms of advice on how to operate the library and in donating the book stock. We hope we can continue to work together to provide a continued library service for the Wash Common residents”.
She continued, “All of the money raised at our various fund raising events have been match funded by the Greenham Trust. Our fundraising total on the Good Exchange platform was more than £12,134 at the beginning of November which is a fantastic result!”
Cllr Adrian Edwards, Leader of Newbury Town Council and a Ward Councillor in Wash Common said that this was a great result for all involved, saying, “I am very pleased that the Town Council is able to facilitate the Friends by leasing the building from the District Council. The support that the Friends have received from shows just how much this service is valued. We are all looking forward to the re-opening of the library and on behalf of the community in Wash common I wish to thank the Friends for all their hard work in making this happen”
The community library will open its doors for the first time on Saturday 1 December at 10am with a special launch event. Everyone is welcome to go along. If you are interested in helping as either a volunteer or with fundraising please email: firstname.lastname@example.org