New Cross Library to flog assets (in charity auction)

New Cross People's Library Pic: Xixi Zheng

The community-run New Cross Learning library will hold a Grand Auction this November to raise funds for the embattled service.

The all-volunteer service, which took over when the council’s closed its library last August, needs to cover the costs of a 2-year lease soon to be signed on the building.

The library is looking for items and services from the community to auction from from 7 to 10pm on November 17. There will be a bar and raffle on the side.

James Holland, volunteer manager at the library, said: “The money we get from the council is often restricted, so as well as being a real good day to introduce people to the library, it is also for unrestricted funding for anything we need – money you can spend on all kinds of things.”

Items auctioned last year included works by local artists, weeks at holiday homes in Margate and Yorkshire, a pram from the fifties, a signed copy of John Prescott’s autobiography and a vintage sheepskin coat.

The library said: “We expect items to include local services like haircuts, objets d’art, books and even household furniture.”

Libraries in London have been under severe pressure after government cuts to local authority funding led councils across London to slash back on their libraries.

Lewisham council closed five of its libraries in February last year after months of protest (including an occupation of the library) as part of an attempt to reduce its budget by £88m over the next four years.

Local volunteers moved in to take over the running of the library that year, but they still need funding to cover  rent and operating costs. Despite its small stature and relatively dingy front windows, the library has staged read-ins and fundraisers.

The community-run space offers a library service and a book shop as well as a wide range of learning activities, supported by registered charity Bold Vision. Among their major donors is the New Cross Gate Trust.

Holland said: “I do believe in the community – New Cross is absolutely fantastic and I’m proud to be a member of it. We are always looking for volunteers so pop into the space, e-mail us or phone us to get involved.”

It has been offered a 2-year-lease Lewisham council and brand new building maintenance funding to continue its services.

The auction to support New Cross Learning will take place on Saturday 17 Nov (7-10pm) at New Cross Learning, 283-285 New Cross Road, SE14 6AS  @newxlearning,

Email or call in with items for auction. 

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