The Friends of Kensal Rise Library will host a fundraising evening with Melvyn Bragg this Sunday (8th November), where he will discuss his newly published historical novel Now is the Time (Sceptre) to raise money for the library.
After a five-year battle, residents and campaigners have secured the future of Kensal Rise Library which will re-open next year. The library was closed by Brent Council in 2011 before being sold to Uplift Properties, which will convert the building into flats, but set aside most of the ground floor for library and community use, which will be rent-free in perpetuity. It will be run by and for the community.
Margaret Bailey, chair of the Friends, said: “We have won the first battle; we will have a library back in our community, now we move on to the next chapter. We need to raise money to turn an empty space into a library and public place we can be proud of. We need to raise money to fit out the space and to run the service. We are currently fundraising and actively seeking grants, sponsors and benefactors. Our target is £100,000 and we have recently had a donation of £10,000, so we are on our way.”
Bailey has been named one of the London Borough of Brent's 2015 Community Champions. The Brent Community Champions Awards are held annually by Brent Council to honour and recognise individuals who have given outstanding community and voluntary service in Brent. For the last five years, Bailey has led the campaign to save the library service in Kensal Rise and has been described as a "tireless champion of community values."
Bragg's new book is set in 1381 when a vast force of common people – led by Walter Tyler and the priest John Ball - marched on London, protesting against unfair taxes, the corruption of those in power, and the unacceptable wealth of the Church. The Peasant’s Revolt was "the biggest rebellion in English history, and for about three intense, violent weeks, it looked as if they would sweep all before them." The novel is a "powerful re-telling of this extraordinary episode and captures all the drama, passion, patriotism and anger of that time."
An Evening with Melvyn Bragg will be held at St. Martin's Church at 7.30pm on 8th November 2015. Tickets are £7 and available from L’Angolo Delicatessen, 120 College Road NW10; Daniels Estate Agent, 77 Chamberlayne Road NW10; Queens Park Books, 87 Salusbury Road NW6; and on the door, subject to availability.