CLWYD South Assembly Member Ken Skates is urging a community group hoping to reopen Brymbo Library to apply for a Welsh Government grant.
Labour AM Mr Skates wrote to Culture Minister John Griffiths to see what financial support is available to relocate the library after it was earmarked it for closure by Wrexham Council as part of a range of enforced cuts following a reduced budget from the UK Government.
But he says that community takeovers of public facilities have to be explored – as with Plas Madoc Leisure Centure – as Welsh councils deal with ‘crippling’ funding cuts from Westminster.
Mr Skates said: “The application to modernise the existing library premises is currently on the Welsh Government’s reserve list and will be addressed if or when funding becomes available, but in the meantime I will support the working group in trying to re-open it elsewhere and am keen to help however I can.
“The Welsh Government, just like all local councils across Wales, is under unprecedented pressure in the wake of the huge reduction in funding from the Tory-led coalition.
“However, I have been able to establish that funding could be available for the library under our Communities Facilities Programme, which is open to community and voluntary sector organisations, including social enterprises, and allocates grants up to a maximum of £500,000.
“One of the funding criteria is ‘providing, safeguarding or reintroducing a valuable community service such as access to a credit union, post office or library’, so I have written to the group and would encourage them to make an application.”
Mr Skates added: “Crippling UK-wide austerity measures and welfare reforms are devastating the country. By 2020, Wales will be getting 20% less from Westminster than we were getting at the start of the decade, so alternative ownership and operational models for council-run services need to be initiated right now.
“Residents will have seen what is happening with Plas Madoc – if the vision, the drive and public will are there then positive outcomes can be achieved for our communities.”