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SHAKE UP: Five libraries could be ran by community organisations

SHAKE UP: Five libraries could be ran by community organisations

Wrekenton Library in Gateshead, Image Chronicle Live

A consultation into a shake-up which could see five Gateshead libraries ran by community organisations is set to be launched next week.

A report set to be heard by the council’s cabinet on Tuesday stated that it needs to save £1.2m on  services it provides under its public health and wellbeing group, which libraries fall under.

Because of this, the group is reviewing its services.

The document said: “The aim is to develop a health and wellbeing offer which improves opportunities for all and helps to maximise the wellbeing of our residents.

“This will require a significant change of approach so that community need, and improved equity are the main focus.”

The review covers leisure services and the statutory library services run by Gateshead Council.

This has revealed that the authority needs to continue supporting library services.

However, it said “the existing library service model is not reaching enough residents, and services can be further developed for those most in need”.

The borough has earmarked five libraries that could be turned into “community spaces” with the responsibility for their management transferred to voluntary and community sector organisations.

These libraries are:

Chopwell
Crawcrook
Leam Lane
Pelaw
Wrekenton

If this goes ahead libraries would still be ran from these buildings alongside council services, community agencies and neighbourhood groups to “offer a range of activities, programmes and services to meet the needs of local residents.”

The cabinet will vote on whether to start a consultation into the proposals at their meeting next Tuesday.

 

Words: Herbert Soden, Local Democracy Reporter


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