A community group fighting to re-open a 102 year old library received good news last month. The Architectural Heritage Fund have agreed a Project Viability Fund grant of £5000 towards research which will enable a buildings evaluation to take place to assess whether the library in Oswaldtwistle, Hyndburn in Lancashire has a commercially viable future.
The funding was applied for by Gayle Knight from the Civic Arts Centre and Theatre on behalf of the local community and will be matched by funding from Hyndburn Borough Council. The overall aim of the Viability Study is to identify a sustainable future for the library and provide support for further funding bids for maintenance work and community projects.
A former Carnegie Library built in 1915, Oswaldtwistle Library closed its doors in September 2016 alongside around 40 other community buildings in the county.
Ian Morrison, Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund said: ‘Thanks to support from Historic England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and through a team of regional support officers we are able to help local people who feel passionately about rescuing historic buildings at risk. Our grants enable groups to take those first important steps to restoring and regenerating properties which have both heritage and community value.’
Gayle Knight, Civic Arts Centre and Theatre explained: ‘The proposed project is a community asset transfer of the library to a new group, The Oswaldtwistle Lamp, which is already constituted but would become a Community Interest Company if they decide to take the project forward. The idea is for the library to be run as a book exchange, community venue with the proposed addition of a café. Books can be returned, kept or handed on for someone else to read. The aspiration is to extend the range of community groups and clubs using the library so that it is busy all the time. This also includes extending the connection that the library already has with local schools. A small café facility to the library would be useful but a feasibility study to check if this would generate income is needed.’
Pictured: Ian Garbutt, Chris Brindle and Cllr Peter Britcliffe