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Community steps up to support Ealing’s libraries

Ealing Council’s cabinet will meet next Tuesday (16 July) to discuss how five of the borough’s libraries could be run by the community, while still achieving the

£1.14million in savings the council needs to help balance its budget. The full council report can be read online.

The council ran a 12-week public consultation earlier this year. Local people and library users were invited to consider proposals to keep six of the council’s 13 libraries under council management, with the remaining seven becoming community managed or facing closure. They were also asked about changes to opening hours.

As many as 1700 people responded via online and paper surveys. In addition, 366 people attended seven consultation events and three drop-in sessions held over the 12-week period.

The council also carried out a representative survey of 800 Ealing residents.

Running alongside the consultation, the council talked in-depth with resident and community groups interested in community managed libraries. Formal expressions of interest have been made and the council is now in discussions with groups that could see some libraries being run by community groups within a year.  

Cabinet will hear that new recommendations are being made Greenford and Wood End libraries. The council is proposing to continue the overall management of those two libraries from their existing sites while putting in place a programme to develop its community support and volunteer base. By doing this, it hopes that both libraries will be better place to move to a community-managed model in the future.

Cabinet will now consider the following recommendations for each library. If cabinet agrees, groups will next be asked to submit a detailed business case. The council is offering support to groups to develop these.

Library Initial proposal Current recommendation
Ealing Central Council managed Council managed
Acton Library Council managed Council managed
Northolt Library Council managed Council managed
Southall Library Council managed Council managed
Jubilee Gardens Council managed Council managed
Northolt Leisure Centre Council managed Managed by council. Day to day running supported by Everyone Active
Hanwell Community managed or closure Proceed with business case development
Northfields Community managed or closure Proceed with business case development
Pitshanger Community managed or closure Proceed with business case development
Perivale Community managed or closure Proceed with business case development
West Ealing Community managed or closure Proceed with business case development
Greenford Community managed or closure Council managed with community support
Wood End Community managed or closure Council managed with community support

Cabinet will also consider recommendations to change opening hours at council-managed libraries, opening and closing them later in line with how most residents currently use the service.

Councillor Jasbir Anand, cabinet member for business and community services, said: “I would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete our consultation and come to our events. We have carefully considered all the responses and I am delighted that local groups have been so positive and have come forward to offer their support.   

“Many people realise that our government funding has been cut, we now have only 36p for every £1 we used to get in 2010. These massive cuts have come at a time of increasing demand for services which mean we desperately need to make savings and change the way we run services.   Our Future Ealing programme is all about providing the services that people care about in innovative ways. People power is at the heart of our Future Ealing plan which is why it is so important to support the residents and groups that have stepped forward at this stage.

“It’s essential that local communities support their fellow residents and groups during the next stage of business case development. Community involvement and volunteering is crucial to their plans and I know that the people leading these bids have some creative ideas for how to use the space in a way that benefits everyone.”

Groups will be invited to develop their detailed proposals and business cases over the summer. Decision on the proposals will be made in the autumn

Residents that would like to support their local libraries can contact the council by emailing libraryvolunteer@ealing.gov.uk.

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