Community Benefactor - the Lancaster Foundation steps in to Save Whalley Library to buy it and give it back to the Community
We are delighted to inform you of the latest news on Whalley Library. The Lancaster Foundation has stepped forward with a bid to save the Library. Its generous aim is to simply to allow the buildings usage by the community for a peppercorn rent. It is envisioned that the space will become a more diverse community meeting space with a modern book lending facility being at its core. I am sure that many of you will be as delighted as we are and hope Lancaster Foundation every success in its bid to save the library. If the Library building can be saved for community use there will need to be a small committee of enthusiastic people wishing to be involved in the ongoing issues around the facility. Chris Richardsonof the Foundation states ‘ the Lancaster family are very sympathetic to the Whalley residents following the library closure and see the potential of a thriving community hub being created to benefit many. Whalley is undergoing much growth and change and we see this potential community meeting space as a real benefit to the locals. We are already encouraged by the strength of public support’.
The 'Save Whalley Library’ action group has been revitalised following a meeting attended by Chris Richardson of Lancaster foundation Ribble Valley Borough Councillor Ged Mirfin, who represents the neighbouring Ward of Billington, President of the Whalley Lions, Neil Martin, County Councillor, Albert Atkinson, in whose Ribble Valley North East Area Whalley falls, the Ribble Valley Borough Councillor for the Whalley Ward, Terry Hill and Gillian Darbyshire, one of the Directors of the Whalley and Billington Flood Action Group. A plan is already underway.
Gillian states, "the model is the FLAG group established in response to the Flooding experienced in Whalley at the end of 2015. We are looking for people with particular expertise in running Community Interest ventures, including those that have specialist knowledge of running libraries, amongst others who can help us put together a self sustaining business plan within the next couple of weeks."
Neil Martin states, "this represents a fantastic opportunity to preserve a valuable community asset going forward. I know from the huge response we got from the Save Whalley Library Campaign that there are a large number of individuals with just the kind of skill-set we are looking for willing and able to serve on a Shadow Board and to put the kind of business plan together that is required. We are very grateful that the Lancaster foundation has stepped forward with such kindness and we hope a re envisioned library community space can be realised soon.
Ged Mirfin states that, "after my initial feeling of despair at Whalley Library being put up for Sale and the community losing it for ever I am firmly convinced that this represents a great opportunity to reshape Whalley Library as a permanent Community Asset confident that it will no longer be subject to the vagaries and political whims of Lancashire County Council."
Terry Hill states, "It is testament to the hard work and effort of the Save Whalley Library Campaign that the Lancaster Foundation has recognised the importance and value of Whalley Library to the community and I am extremely confident that we can put together a business plan that works that will both maximise the use of Whalley Library but transform it into a highly used community facility in much the same way as the Old Grammar School in Whalley."
Albert Atkinson states, "I look forward enthusiastically to working on this project and know that we can do good works in Whalley for the Community. This represents an exciting prospect for the Community which will allow Whalley Library to be developed as a community asset to its full potential."