Green councillor wins backing for Camden library and community centre fund

Cllr Sian Berry. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Cllr Sian Berry. Picture: Nigel Sutton. - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Camden’s sole Green councillor has called for a special fund to be set up to support community centres and libraries across the borough.

Cllr Sian Berry, who was elected in Highgate in May’s election, won the backing of her council colleagues for a motion asking the Labour cabinet to ring-fence funds in next year’s budget to support community volunteer groups.

Introducing her motion to full council, she said: “It occurred to me from what I was seeing in my own ward and elsewhere – with a lot of libraries and community centres moving towards more volunteer-running and trying to extend their services - it would be a really useful thing for them to have a reserve fund to draw upon.

“What I’m not trying to do here is undermine the efforts of voluntary boards and friends of library committees who are doing amazing work.

“I’m looking to support them in being more creative in what they do, saying to them: ‘Go ahead and be more adventurous, come up with an idea. We have got your back with this fund.’”

Councillors voted unanimously in support of Cllr Berry’s motion, which called on “cabinet to investigate and consider [the fund] while preparing next year’s budget”.

In 2011, the council controversially cut £1.6million from its libraries service and forced community groups to step in to save and run libraries in Hampstead, Belsize and Primrose Hill.