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Charity status gives extra hope to Whitchurch group trying to save library

Whitchurch Library is open daily except on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Whitchurch Library has been safeguarded until 2017.

A GROUP supporting Whitchurch Library against the threat of closure now has charitable status, spurring on plans for a series of events.

The Charity Commission decided in favour of an application by Arts, Whitchurch, Eglwys Newydd to join the charity register.

AWEN members celebrated the success at their monthly meeting last Wednesday, but also warned of the need to increase efforts to prevent the library’s possible closure next year.

Council plans to axe funding for seven local libraries, including Whitchurch, were dropped in February after huge public backlash. The council agreed to continue to fund the libraries until the end of the council term in 2017.

Whitchurch librarian Zoe Pearce said at Wednesday’s AWEN meeting: “We must do more to show that time is of the essence. It is your library. That message needs to be stated loud – use us or lose us.”

AWEN has grown to a 89-strong membership, after 10 new members signed up at its World Book Day event on March 3 which raised £158 to improve and maintain the library.

Tonight former First Minister Rhodri Morgan will host a talk with writer Les James on Chartism to raise funds for AWEN. A poetry and pints night at Whitchurch Rugby Club will follow on April 20.

AWEN gathered for a cake sale earlier this month.

AWEN members gathered for a cake sale earlier this month.

The charity is also planning various fundraisers alongside the city’s events to mark the centenary of Welsh writer Roald Dahl’s birth in 1916.

AWEN’s current focus is the need to buy mobile shelves, which they hope will be helped by their new charity status.

Ultimately the group hopes to extend the existing library building into an arts centre, based on the precedent set by Llanover Hall in Canton.

AWEN treasurer and artist Antony Evans said: “Now that we have charity status, hopefully more funds will become available.”

“But we need specific people for specific jobs – if anyone has skills in accounting then that would be useful for a treasurer!”

The next AWEN meeting will take place in Whitchurch Library on 27 April at 6.30pm.

  • Tonight’s talk on the political rights gained by Welsh Chartists will be held in Methodist Church Hall, Penlline Rd, at 7pm.
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