Library campaigners are jubilant after the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has pledged £40,000 to help reopen Cricklewood Library after it was closed by Brent Council in 2011.
The venue was one of 25 projects chosen to receive funding by Khan, who is pledging to give £4m over the next four years to various London-based community projects through his Crowdfund London scheme.
The backing now means the library is halfway to reaching its goal of raising £117,443. Friends of Cricklewood Library (FOCL) will need to raise the full amount by 25th September in order to qualify for the funding. The community group intends to convert the building’s empty shell back into a working library and community hub, hosting homework clubs, craft groups, and activities including English language classes, dance, music, yoga and skills building, as well as house a small cafe.
The campaign group said: "This is a rapidly growing corner of Brent, with a widely diverse population. The library will bring people together, build links, reduce social isolation and give people access to learning, develop skills and work opportunities. This is an opportunity to create a cultural destination, attracting people to the area, promoting access through the cycle quietway, and drawing in people who visit Gladstone Park for sport and leisure. It could revitalise the area, and bring a sense of pride to local people."
Sally Long, chair of FOCL, told The Kilburn Times: “We were hoping to get the top amount and we did. This library will be a really vital part of the local neighbourhood and we are so grateful for this latest pledge. But we know it is going to be hard work to reach our target.”
Library campaigner Wendy Tyrrell added: “There are very few places in Cricklewood where you can go and meet other people that live here. The library will provide free access for this.
“I used to take my daughter to the old library. I was quite new to the area. It was a sad day when it went. This is an amazing thing to get behind and all children deserve the chance to have access to books.”
Khan said he wanted to support to an "extraordinary range" of local groups to help strengthen their local places and "make London an even greater city.”
The campaign currently has 192 backers, who have pledged £59,277 towards the project's £117,443 goal.