Community silencing fears over their library
VOLUNTEERS are hoping a new community trust will seamlessly begin running Minchinhampton Library when the county finally axes it this autumn.
Residents and representatives of Minchinhampton Parish Council are part of a steering group that's working towards the formation of a charitable company limited by guarantee.
That would keep the library in School Road going after Gloucestershire County Council withdraws its support on October 31.
In the spring last year the county authority approved £120 million worth of cuts to its budget that included closing 10 libraries if communities didn't take them on.
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The public outcry about the move led to the launch of the Friends of Minchinhampton Library campaign.
It raised a 1,750-name petition protesting about the Minchinhampton closure.
But now, following several public meetings in Minchinhampton, spokesman Chris Stone said the Minchinhampton Community Library Trust Ltd was being formed.
The intention was to manage, operate and maintain the village library on a voluntary basis, Mr Stone said.
The trust would have charitable status to help its fund raising and Mr Stone said: "There are monies available both from Minchinhampton Parish Council and via Gloucestershhire County Council which has offered something per annum to maintain some form of service."
Minchinhampton parish councillor Steve Draper earlier had told the annual parish assembly that initial costings had indicated £20,000 a year was needed to provide 13 hours library opening. "The hope is there won't be a full closure," Mr Stone said.
"Our target is a relatively seamless handover, and continuation of the library service in some shape or form, by the end of September."
Volunteers who'd already offered to help with the day-to-day running of the library would be encouraged to undergo training over the next few months, while the library was still operating.
"Given the amount of volunteer names we have and the other interested parties around Minchinhampton I think there is sufficient momentum and interest to maintain an independent facility within Minchinhampton," said Mr Stone.