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Could this save our libraries?

 
Created on 06/06/2018 @ 09:25
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As libraries like Welshpool face an uncertain future, towns across Powys will be looking towards a new community partnership that has saved one service in our area.

A new partnership deal signed this week between a charitable Community Interest Group and Powys County Council will ensure Llanfyllin library stays open for the foreseeable future.   

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by both parties and formed a milestone moment in what has been a period of detailed discussions with a number of the town and community councils in the area.

When Powys County Council consulted over the future of its branch libraries in 2016, with a view to saving 50% of the local running costs, the town and community councils in the Llanfyllin area immediately stepped forward with a highly commendable and radical proposal to support their local library.

Led initially by Llanfyllin town councillor John Brautigam, 12 town and community councils in this area of north Powys formed the North Montgomeryshire Community Interest Company (CIC) – a not for profit organisation - in order to part fund the library, and to support community delivery of other services in the locality.

“This is a unique approach to co-operation with the county council, and clearly demonstrates the clear forward thinking of the town and community councils in this area,” said Cllr Rachel Powell, Portfolio Holder for Libraries. “By working together in this way, we can continue to deliver more for our residents, resulting in a better quality of life. We do not underestimate the amount of work involved in creating the CIC, and are truly grateful for the vision and perseverance of all concerned.”

The library will continue to be run by the library service, so the public will not see any physical change, but half of the costs will be covered by the local town and community councils, through the CIC and the future of the library secured through a rolling five year agreement.

Chairman of the CIC, Cllr Peter Lewis, said: “We are delighted to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with the Library Service, and to celebrate that we will continue to have an excellent library here in the Llanfyllin area. The formation of the CIC has proved the strength of our communities in this rural part of Powys, and I am proud to be involved in a model which could be an inspiration to other areas. It is a fantastic achievement for 12 councils to come together and agree to cost sharing in this way. The CIC approach is unique in Wales and probably in the UK. Our communities can feel very proud.”

PICTURE (from left): Emma Wilde, John Brautigam, Jenny Eilbeck, Simon Baynes (Mayor of Llanfyllin), County Cllr. Peter Lewis (Chair of C.I.C.), Lisa Grifiths (PCC Senior Manager Business Change), Lorraine Williams (Branch Librarian), Jane Thomas (Library Assistant), Kay Thomas (Principal Librarian), Nick Powell (Vice Chair C.I.C).

 

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