Wakefield Council’s library closures will cost group its home

The Knit and Natter group which meet at Outwood Library who are to be homeless as the library is closing.L-R Margaret Carr,Shirley Wormall,Wendy Plummer,Margaret Schofield and Cheryl Bailey.

The Knit and Natter group which meet at Outwood Library who are to be homeless as the library is closing.L-R Margaret Carr,Shirley Wormall,Wendy Plummer,Margaret Schofield and Cheryl Bailey.

2
Have your say

A KNITTING group fears it will have nowhere to go when Outwood Library closes.

Knit and Natter’s charity projects have helped to put smiles on people’s faces both in Wakefield and in some of the poorest countries in the world.

But Outwood Library, where the group has met weekly for the past three years, is one of 12 that Wakefield Council’s cabinet confirmed on Tuesday will no longer be run by the council.

And because no community groups have come forward with a plan to take it on, the building looks set to close by March next year, leaving Knit and Natter and other groups homeless.

Founder Wendy Plummer, 52, said the group would struggle.

She said: “For room rental we’re looking at costs of up to £30 a week, and if we start charging members more it defeats the purpose of being a non-pressure group.

“The library is on bus routes and is easy to get to. It will be difficult to find another place.”

Knit and Natter has made clothes for Pinderfields’ premature babies unit, rugs and blankets for orphaned Aids victims in Africa, and shawls for elderly people in 
Outwood.

They’ve also made clothes for Wakefield’s Community Awareness Programme (CAP) and Shelter, the homeless charity.

The group was set up as a positive mental health initiative and still includes members with mental health problems, terminal illnesses and who are on low incomes.

Mrs Plummer said: “Some people have just noticed us in the library and ended up joining the group.

“I believe that libraries should be the responsibility of the council and that volunteers should not do the work of paid staff.

“We’ve got falling literacy rates and increasing isolation of elderly people, so it makes no sense to close these libraries.”

People have got until October to submit business plans for the libraries at risk of closure.

The changes, resulting from a three-year consultation with library users and staff, will save Wakefield Council about £800,000.

Council bosses said the service needed modernising and that they would invest £1m into improving the remaining libraries and their home and mobile service.