Libraries and Children’s Centres: The Council’s Choices

The Conservative plan for the complete removal of funding from all but central library will be catastrophic for ALL libraries in Swindon, including West Swindon Library.
Volunteers are fantastic but they simply cannot replace professional staff. We know this from what's happened to Walcot library, currently the only volunteer-run library in Swindon:
Since the volunteers have taken over, the lending rate has plummeted from 14,000 items to only 4,000. I would hate to see the same thing happen to West Swindon Library.

I’m also particularly concerned over the closure of all of Swindon’s Children’s Centres. According to Lisa Harker, Head of the Strategy Unit at the NSPCC:
“Children's Centres arguably hold the key – or at least a big chunk of it – to preventing abuse. By supporting families through the transition to parenthood and during the early years, Children's Centres are among the most important pieces of weaponry in the fight against child abuse.”

It cannot be right to close these critical assets. This policy risks an increase in levels of child abuse within our community and is frankly inexplicable.

It might seem from what I say about Children’s Centres, Libraries and Lydiard park that I’m not aware of the appalling budget cuts forced on our local Council by the current Conservative government – this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Budget cuts are inevitable, there is no choice, levels of Council expenditure have to be reduced.
BUT – cuts, like so many other things in life, are about choices.

  • Children’s Centres OR hugely expensive major changes to roundabouts which barely improve traffic flow.
  • Libraries OR demolishing one ugly Car Park just to replace it with another.  No extra spaces, just changing bricks for concrete.
  • Lydiard park OR interminable roadworks that damage local businesses and do little to improve anything very much at all.

The list could go on, we all know it’s true, we see it every day.

Swindon Borough Council needs to listen to us, the residents. We need a new approach, a genuine desire to reflect the wishes of the community not phony consultations held only after the cuts have been imposed.