Communities join forces to save libraries’ future

The headteacher of Upton primary school, Paul Franklin and Chair of Parish Council Shaun Hodson are fighting to save Upton library from closure after council decide to offload it
The headteacher of Upton primary school, Paul Franklin and Chair of Parish Council Shaun Hodson are fighting to save Upton library from closure after council decide to offload it
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campaigners have joined forces to save Upton Library from closure.

Coun Shaun Hodson has teamed up with Upton Primary headteacher Paul Franklin to help secure its future.

Coun Hodson – who is chairman of Upton and North Elmsall Parish Council – has vowed to do everything he can to keep it open for community use.

He is set to join forces with The Save Ackworth Library Group to add weight to their proposals to Wakefield Council to take over the running of the library with help from the council’s Community Libraries Grant Scheme.

Coun Hodson said: “We have until the end of October to put together a plan and I believe that pooling our resources with the Ackworth group will make the application stronger.

“We will have a joint group of volunteers who will work in each of the libraries.

“If we were to do this alone we might struggle getting enough volunteers.”

They are set to meet the Ackworth group next month to discuss ways of applying to the council’s £100,000 grant scheme.

Last month council chiefs urged community leaders to step up and save under-threat libraries in South Kirkby, Havercroft, Kinsley and Upton after a 12 week consultation found four out of every ten users had stopped using the district’s libraries since 1992.

A report to senior councillors approved the creation of 14 libraries run by the council and 12 which could become ‘satellite’ services run by community groups.

Organisations can now submit one application each for up to £12,500 of funding.

The community groups must be able to demonstrate the future sustainability of their project through robust business and financial planning.