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Bexley library management arrangements expected next week

PUBLISHED: 09:57 10 November 2015 | UPDATED: 14:57 12 November 2015

Opened book in library

Opened book in library

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Bexley Council's cabinet is expected to agree to the management arrangements of Bostall, North Heath and Upper Belvedere Libraries

Arrangements for the community management of four libraries in Bexley are expected to be agreed when the council’s cabinet meets next Tuesday.

Earlier this year, the council asked for community groups to come forward to help run four of the borough’s libraries at Blackfen, Bostall, North Heath and Upper Belvedere, following the adoption of a new Library Strategy and a plan for remodelling the service.

It is proposed that from next April, Bostall Library will be managed by The Bostall Library Community Group, which is made up of local regular library users.

The group also includes a member of library staff, who saw the process as a great opportunity to develop an even more community focussed library.

Under the new management arrangements, the core services of the library will be enhanced by new facilities including a click and collect parcel service, a food ordering service and a coffee shop.

Membership of the library will continue to be free of charge.

Similarly, North Heath and Upper Belvedere Libraries will be managed by Eco Communities from next April.

Eco Communities are an experienced South London-based organisation that already manages a number of libraries in Lewisham as well as the Slade Green and Howbury Community Centre in Bexley.

Working with local partners Age UK Bexley and Woodlands Academy Trust, Eco Communities will bring the benefit of three experienced local service providers to managing libraries in the borough, where an expanded range of events and activities for children, families and older residents, and training opportunities for those seeking work will be available.

Meanwhile, New Generation Church will manage Blackfen Library from next April.

New Generation Church have a vision to ‘make good things happen’ by serving the whole community and delivering popular community services such as Hope Free School, Sparkles Toddler Group and the annual Lark in the Park event.

New activities and clubs at the library includes specialised IT courses, personal development courses, story telling groups, the introduction of the Sparkles Toddler Group and a new cafe.

Membership of all four libraries will continue to be free of charge.

Cabinet member for community safety, environment and leisure, Cllr Peter Craske said: “I am delighted that New Generation Church have been put forward to manage Blackfen Library.

“They were identified as the strongest bidder in the council’s procurement process, and likewise I am really pleased that the local Bostall community saw the opportunity to work with us to realise their vision for a library that will provide even more of the services that residents and visitors want to receive.

“They have clearly shown us that they are committed to delivering an excellent library in Bostall that will develop new and exciting services.

“Similarly the Eco Communities partnership with Age UK and Woodland Academy Trust will be the basis for exciting developments at these libraries in North Heath and Upper Belvedere.

“I am confident that all groups and members will rise to the challenge of delivering community focussed libraries that meet the needs of local people.”

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