Building for the future at Cantley Library

Volunteers Jenny Hambleton and Susan Baker, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Cantley Library
Volunteers Jenny Hambleton and Susan Baker, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Cantley Library
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There are big plans at Cantley Library.

Several years after the facility changed from being run by the council to being run by a team of dedicated volunteers, there are concerns for the future of the building on Goodison Boulevard which houses the service.

Committee Members Moira Ockenden, Paul Coddington, Chairman and Kate McKeown, pictured outside Cantley Community Library. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Cantley Library MC 1

Committee Members Moira Ockenden, Paul Coddington, Chairman and Kate McKeown, pictured outside Cantley Community Library. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Cantley Library MC 1

Now, the committee which looks after its running is drawing up a plan of action to make sure it can continue.

The first step of their plan will see the number of activities run in the library increased, as they try to give it a wider role in the community than just a library.

It is a move that volunteers believe will help them to access grants in the future which they hope will give them a better chance of getting hold of grant funding to help them construct a replacement building.

Chairman of the Cantley Community Library, Paul Coddington said: "The volunteers have taken care of running the library and I think that is amazing. We have a very good group of 35 volunteers helping to run the place. We have regular review meetings with a representative from the library service at Doncaster Council., and I think we are one of the top five most used libraries in the borough.

Cantley Community Library. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Cantley Library MC 5

Cantley Community Library. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Cantley Library MC 5

"As far as the library itself is concerned we're delighted with the way its going, and it clearly meets the need of the community.

"We fought to keep the library and the public were instrumental in that, They were clear that they wanted the library in the location it is, where it is by a bus stop, shops and the medical centre. Everything is here.

"But the down side is the fabric of the building."

A survey since the volunteers took over revealed problems with its timber frame. They believe the building will only last a few more years.

Despite that they have carried out some refurbishment projects. The lights were recently improved after a fund raising effort.

Now the library has employed a business consultant to see what it can achieve, and carried out a local survey to see what people would like to see at the facility.

It has already started to increase the number of community activities which it runs, with a Knit and Natter group set up, which has been attended by both children and adults.

It has plans to bring in a service showing local pensioners how to use computers, to be called Tea and Tech.

There were other things raised on the survey, which brought 530 responses.

They included creating a cafe, and running activities for children and young people, like homework clubs, and events such as talks.

Committee member Kate McKeown said they were hoping to show that the building was a community hub, and not just a library, which would mean it had potential access to more types of grants.

Fellow committee member Moira Ockenden added: "We would ideally love to build a two-story building where we could have meeting rooms upstairs. We have so many people who come here for meetings and rooms for that would be great."

Charity bid

Cantley Library could soon be a charity.

An application to the Charities Commission is being submitted, and the people who run the library hope they could have a response by early next year.

At present it operates as a limited company.

Mrs McKeown said: "We are hoping to get the forms submitted in the next few weeks and then we're hoping to be a charity early in the new year. Being a charity opens doors in terms of grants."

Meeting room plan

Plans have been drawn up to create a new meeting room in Cantley Library's existing building.

Although there are concerns for the future of the building, the committee which runs it wants to create space for groups or individuals to meet for quiet talks away from the rest of the library.

It is believed it would be a facility that could be used for events like councillors advice surgeries.

They are hoping to create the room by dividing up the current entrance porch.

It is one of two projects they are planning, involving money raised within the community. The second is to buy more furniture for the building, such as a sofa for the children's library.