CROYDON CHAMPIONS: Library lifeguards earn nomination

CROYDON CHAMPIONS: Library lifeguards earn nomination

CROYDON CHAMPIONS: Library lifeguards earn nomination

First published in News Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Campaigners who have fought for two years to protect a threatened library have been nominated for a Croydon Champions award.

The Upper Norwood Library Trust is in the running to win team of the year for its campaign to save the century-old library in Westow Hill after budget cuts and staff redundancies threw its future into doubt.

The charity formed in 2012 after Croydon councillors voted to slash its share of funding for the library, run with Lambeth council, from £187,000 to £75,000.

As well as lobbying Croydon Council to increase funding, the trust has raised more than £60,000 for the library, which was forced to halve its opening hours and axe a third of its workforce.

The trust attracted widespread support, including from politicians, musicians, poets, artists and businesses, helped by prominent campaigning online.

The library’s future is looking brighter after the new Labour council pledged to match Lambeth Council’s levels of funding.

The trust was nominated for Croydon Champions by Robert Gibson, co-chairman of the charity.

He said: “The Upper Norwood Library Trust has been a passionate advocate and activist in defence of Upper Norwood library which, although it is located on the very edge of Lambeth, serves 19,000 Croydon residents who are the biggest borough user group of the library.

“It faced serious threats to its existence when the Croydon Conservative council violated a joint funding agreement with Lambeth which had operated for more than 100 years.”

He added: “The trust has worked hard to keep the issue of the library an important political issue in the area not only in Lambeth and Croydon but across the five Crystal Palace boroughs and has attracted political support from a broad range of parties.”

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