Conduit for grant aid

BEXHILL Library Friends, founded two years ago to campaign and fund-raise for a new library, has been told the county council is putting money into improving the old building.

One of the ways the friends are able to help the library is by acting as a conduit for grant aid, which would otherwise not be available to the county library service.

Chairman Tony Dunn told last Friday's annual meeting in St Andrew's Hall: "The year just passed has in a small way been successful in so much as a grant was obtained from the Arts Council for 4,975 for use of the Ex-Libris Workshops.

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"The Bexhill and Battle workshops have been held and they were very successful, the third one has been organised for Rye library.

"This grant can only be applied for if it goes through a 'friends' group. It is paid to the friends for them to administrate. A further amount of approximately 3,000 has/will be paid from the Arts Council via Rother council.

"The library were very pleased this amount was obtained - and indeed their help when necessary in connection with this has been much appreciated.

"Unfortunately, the outing to the British Library had to be cancelled as we were approximately 15 short of the required number to make it worth while financially.

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"At the present time we are looking at a more local outing and will advise you all in due course of the details.

"I am sure that you must have seen in The Times recently, the discussion about closing quite a few local libraries. This is quite worrying with all its implications. That is why it is so important to have friends groups like ours.

"There is strength in numbers and I do hope you will be renewing your subscriptions; also encouraging friends and family to become members of the Bexhil Library Friends.

"It will only cost 1 for a year.

"Your support is needed. It is not known what the future may hold."

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Library group manager Noreen Finn thanked the group for its support.

"We really appreciate the fact that you are interested in and care about the library service.

"I was at the first meeting of the friends how many people turned out."

She added: "To have so many people in the town interested in the library is tremendous.

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"Sadly, I have no news that we are going to get new premises. But the county council has decided that the library is a special case in terms of needing work done on it and they have given us money towards improving the ground floor and that will happen over the next two years.

"One of the things we can encourage you to do is to raise as much money as you can to help us fit out the internal side of the library.".

The group now has around 85 members. The meeting agreed to a proposal from ex-committee member Joan Vann not to accept the hand-written statement of accounts but to have an audited and signed printed set of accounts ready for next year's annual meeting.

She said the movement was no longer in its infancy and bodies to whom the friends might make bids for grant aid in the future would expect to see audited accounts.