Hollywood star backs Save Hanham Library campaign

library protestThe Hanham-born actor, comic and writer Stephen Merchant has backed a campaign set up to save Hanham Library.

Council cuts could see the library restricted to opening just two days a week. Within a day of being launched, a petition on change.org has more than 670 signatures while the Save Hanham Library Facebook page has more than 1,500 followers.

Campaigners, who say the library is a vital community resource,  contacted Mr Merchant via social media and he has shown his support. writing: “This library invaluable to me growing up, hoping to be a writer. Please help keep it open for future Bristol scribes.”

ronnieHis support comes after a huge turnout this morning of supporters keen to show their support for the library.

Abi Unwin, who regularly takes her children Ernie and Robin to the library, organised the protest this morning. She said: “The library is the best thing about living in Hanham.”

Vince Edwards said his children Travis and Katy loved going to the library. They carried placards with them, as did seven-year-old Ronnie Mills, pictured.

Christine Bees, who lives in Hanham, said the idea of cutting opening hours was “disgusting” and another attack on the Hanham community, with the threat of a funding cut hanging over the youth centre next door.

Among those who have signed the petition is local headteacher Mike Weenink who wrote: “I am the headteacher of Hanham Abbots Junior School and I know how important this library is to the school, its children and the community.”

merchantSouth Gloucestershire Council needs to save £640,000 from the library budget and is reviewing services. While it involves reducing some library opening hours, closing Chipping Sodbury Library and ending the mobile library service, the council has said it hopes that through discussions with the community, many of these reductions can be avoided.

It will be launching an online consultation about the review of library services from 22nd February.

Meanwhile campaigners are expected to turn out at Tuesday night’s meeting of Hanham Abbots Parish Council and Wednesday’s Hanham Parish Council meeting at Hanham Community Centre to show the strength of feeling.