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Charity saves South Shields library which was set to close due to council cutbacks

Action Stations is to take over Boldon Lane Library.'From left chair Dr Angela Lishman, volunteer Mark Falconer and manager Keith Hardy
Action Stations is to take over Boldon Lane Library.'From left chair Dr Angela Lishman, volunteer Mark Falconer and manager Keith Hardy

A charity has taken over the running of a library in South Tyneside.

The move marks a new era for West Harton Action Stations, which has changed its name to Action Stations South Tyneside.

The charity, which is situated next door to Boldon Lane Library, is hoping to take it over next month.

The move will also see changes made to both buildings as trustees aim to improve facilities for its existing users and provide more opportunity for other groups at the venue.

Boldon Lane library was one of four earmarked for closure as part of council cutbacks.

After months of talks between Action Stations and the local authority, the charity is now in the final stages of taking over the management of the library.

Chairman Keith Hardy said: “The library is a service that people in the community care about. We have been working with different organisations to keep all the library services.

“There will be changes, as we will be spreading the services we currently provide and the library services across two buildings to maximise the space, and we will be looking at putting in some flexible space to create a small hall.

“We are also working with the Key Project to create a food bank.

“The council have been really supportive, and they are going to continue to buy the book stock and retain some involvement with their community librarians.”

Once the paperwork is signed the charity, which has recently changed its name, will be given a 40-year lease which will enable the trustees to apply for funding.

Keith said: “We decided to change the name to reflect the work we are now doing. When we first set up it was residents from West Harton, but now we support people from across South Tyneside.”

The charity was launched in 1998 and moved into its current building in Boldon Lane in 2014.

Over the years the number of people accessing its services - which includes employment support, computer skills and crafts -has increased with around 25-30,000 visits per year.

For details on Action Stations and the services it offers visit actionstation.org.uk