St Just Community Library Plans get Funding Boost

Posted on: 15th March 2017
St Just Library

Cllr Sue James with Cheque for St Just Community Library

St Just Community Library plans get funding boost from local Cornwall Councillor, Sue James.

The friends of St Just Library are delighted that councillor Sue James has chosen to allocate £1,500 from her Community Chest Fund this year to support the Friends of St Just Library in their plans to take over the day to day running of the library.

Co-chair Ginny March said, “The trustees of the Friends of St Just Library, are very grateful for this contribution to their funds and for the support that Sue James has provided during our negotiations. Although the devolution of the library from Cornwall Council is taking longer than originally anticipated, we are still hoping to take over the building and run the library for the community in the not too distant future. There will be a number of unavoidable start-up costs which this grant will help towards when that day comes. Cornwall Council has also allocated us money from their devolution fund to cover some of these start-up costs when we take over the lease of the building, which will be a great help. We still have more work to do to secure the funds we need to meet the day to day running costs of the library, but are investigating several other sources of funding, and are still hoping that St Just Town Council will make a contribution to our budget, as their support will be vital to ensure the future viability of our library.”

Following government cuts to Local Authorities, Cornwall Council is devolving libraries to be run locally, either by Town Councils or as in St Just’s case to a Community Interest Organisation so that the Library will be run by the local community. The Friends of St Just Library have been working hard to develop a business case to demonstrate they can run the library and the group plan to return to St Just Town Council at the end of this month to get their backing for the Library for the next 3 years. This follows the Town Council deferring the decision when the Friends approached them for financial support last autumn.

Councillor James said “I have been impressed with the professional and enthusiastic way our community has risen to this ambitious challenge and honestly believe it is the best way to secure the future of our Library. I fought off the idea put to the Cabinet of Cornwall Council for a Company to be found to run all the Council’s Libraries as I felt sooner or later we would be back to discussions that our small Library was not viable. The Friends plan gives the community of St Just the best hope of keeping a Library despite continuing financial pressures.”

Another trustee, Kate Beckly said “We have been doing all we can to ensure we have a sustainable plan to run St Just Library but Officers of the Cornwall Council are working on many other devolution projects and progress has been slower than we had hoped. Cornwall Council has now extended the deadline of 1st April 2017 for devolving the Library to us but we are now all working towards a transfer by April 2018.” Officers of Cornwall Council have reassured the Friends group that the Library will continue to run as it is today until they are ready to take it on.