Protest at council against libraries and disabled jobs service cuts proposals - The Coventry Observer

9th Aug, 2022

Protest at council against libraries and disabled jobs service cuts proposals

Les Reid 23rd Jun, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

ANOTHER community in Coventry is campaigning against the potential closure of its library – while other protestors are fighting to save a jobs service for severely disabled people.

Tile Hill has joined other areas including Finham, Earlsdon and Willenhall in starting a petition to protect their library from potential cuts in future years.

Coventry council’s ruling Labour leaders earlier this year mooted the prospect of libraries closing in the face of ongoing government funding cuts under a policy called ‘City Centre First’, before announcing a full review of the service.

Education cabinet member David Kershaw has mooted the idea of community groups or schools potentially stepping in to run some libaries.

Sarah Smith, a Tile Hill resident, is to hand in a petition to Coventry City Counil with 2200 signatures demanding the library be kept open.

She said “Libraries provide a crucial service for the people of Coventry, and the thousands of people who have signed this petition and others show the strength of feeling about them.”

Anti-cuts campaigners held a lobby outside the first full meeting of Coventry’s newly elected council today (June 23).

Campaigning groups including Save Coventry Libraries have pledged to ‘continue to put pressure on the council to fight government cuts rather than implementing them’.

Other campaign groups such as Youth Fight for Jobs, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and campaigners against the closure of the Employment Support Service (TESS) also joined the lobby.

TESS is based in the jobs shop in Coventry city centre and provides support into work and training for profoundly disabled people.

Coventry council leaders proposed its closure to save £300,000-a-year subsidies until council leader Ann Lucas shortly before the election announced a review to examine alternative funding opportunities.

The council now believes TESS could be saved following gestures of support from companies and community groups, in response to publicity about its potential closure.

Heidi Crowter, a young TESS user with Down’s Syndrome, said “TESS is fantastic because as well as helping people find employment they help people stay in employment.”

She said she would be “scared for what the future will hold” if the service is closed.

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