Kisharon start­ing new chap­ter by run­ning Bar­net li­brary

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY NEWS - BY LIANNE KOLIRIN

LO­CAL RES­I­DENTS popped into Childs Hill Li­brary this week to meet its new man­age­ment — learn­ing dis­abil­ity char­ity Kisharon.

From April, Kisharon will be re­spon­si­ble for the run­ning of the li­brary in Crick­le­wood Lane, which has been closed for ren­o­va­tion, in as­so­ci­a­tion with Bar­net Men­cap.

The move is a re­sult of the con­tro­ver­sial plan by Bar­net Coun­cil to re­duce li­brary ser­vices across the bor­ough to ef­fect sav­ings of £2.2 mil­lion per year by 2019/20.

As part of the over­haul, Kisharon and two other “pre­ferred part­ners” have been taken on to run four li­braries in the bor­ough.

An open meet­ing was held at Childs Hill li­brary for lo­cals to learn more about the plans.

In ad­di­tion to ad­min­is­ter­ing the book lend­ing ser­vice, Kisharon will be re­spon­si­ble for chil­dren’s events and IT train­ing for users.

Kisharon’s mis­sion is to help those with learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties gain in­de­pen­dence and lead ful­fill­ing work­ing lives. It cre­ates job op­por­tu­ni­ties through part­ner­ships with lo­cal busi­nesses and it is hoped the li­brary will of­fer fur­ther op­por­tu­ni­ties for clients to gain work ex­pe­ri­ence and learn new skills.

Un­der a 10-year agree­ment, the coun­cil will lease the li­brary premises to Kisharon and pro­vide equip­ment and book stock, plus a small grant to­wards run­ning costs. In 2017-18, the grant will be £35,000, with £28,000 the fol­low­ing year and £25,000 sub­se­quently.

In re­turn, Kisharon will man­age and de­velop the ser­vice, ini­tially for a min­i­mum 15 open­ing hours per week. Bar­net Men­cap will step in on Shab­bat and Yom­tovim.

A li­brary part­ner­ship man­ager has been ap­pointed to run ser­vices, to­gether with adults sup­ported by Kisharon and a team of vol­un­teers.

“I am so de­lighted that we are able to keep this go­ing,” said Dr Bev­er­ley Ja­cob­son, Kisharon’s CEO.

“Li­braries are part of com­mu­nity co­he­sion and a cen­tre where peo­ple can come to­gether with a com­mon in­ter­est.

“We want to make this a li­brary that has bet­ter ac­cess for all sorts of dis­abil­i­ties — and pos­si­bly of­fer sup­port and ad­vice for those peo­ple too.

“It’s so ex­cit­ing. If we can pro­vide ser­vices to [those] with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties, it can be very em­pow­er­ing.”

Coun­cil­lor Reuben Thomp­stone, chair of Bar­net’s Chil­dren, Ed­u­ca­tion, Safe­guard­ing and Li­braries Com­mit­tee, said: “Com­mu­nity-run li­braries are al­ready work­ing well across the UK. In Bar­net, they will form a vi­tal part of our strat­egy to keep all 14 of our li­braries open.”

Kisharon clients will have work ex­pe­ri­ence op­por­tu­ni­ties in the li­brary

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