New Cross Learning is celebrating after parent charity Bold Vision, signed a two-year lease with Lewisham Council today, 16 Aug 2014, marking a significant step forward in the cooperation between the community and the Council.
“We are very pleased that the lease has now been signed and that the collaboration between Bold Vision, New Cross Learning and the Council continues to develop. Lewisham Library & Information Service will be supporting the valuable work that Bold Vision and New Cross Learning carry out to ensure that residents in the north of our borough have access to information, books, IT and a huge range of activities” said Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock.
It has been nearly three years since a group of volunteers backed by local charity Bold Vision took over the running of the former New Cross Library and turned it into New Cross Learning which offers community internet access and a multitude of activities as well as a full Lewisham Library service with 5,000 books.
Dedicated volunteers, supporters, and charities including the New Cross Gate Trust, Deptford City Challenge Trust, RSA and local ward assemblies have supplied funds and backing to keep New Cross Learning open and build supporter numbers through new activities like their popular Baby Bounce. Over 5,000 people come in every month and opening hours have increased to 4 days a week.
The terms of the lease allow New Cross Learning to use the Council-owned premises with money from the council for necessary repairs. Fundraising continues to be essential to provide training and activities and for running costs like heating, electricity, water, rent and rates.
New Cross Learning is already on the road to becoming self-sufficient on operating costs through the annual auction, sales of kindly donated books and printing services – and some people make regular monthly donations.
“We are delighted to get the lease signed and appreciate how we have built a constructive relationship with Lewisham Council as we both learn about new ways of making things happen. It’s great that so many supporters and volunteers are involved with New Cross Learning and keep the doors open”, said Catherine Shovlin, the director of Bold Vision who negotiated the lease.
“This is excellent news for New Cross Learning and for our supporters, because people now know we will be open for the next two years. This certainty about our future means we can apply to funding bodies as well as plan our activities”, said Gill Hart and Kathy Dunbar, New Cross Learning’s co-chairs.
New Cross Learning has a summer programme of activities including the Summer Reading Challenge and Mystery Walks and Picnics. They are always on the lookout for more volunteers who either have specialist skills or who feel they could do a regular couple of hours a week on the library’s front desk. Training is provided so no previous skills are required.
Notes to Editors
New Cross Learning is a community-run space offering a library service and a bookshop 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. NXL is wholly volunteer-run.
What do NXL do?
- New Cross Learning provides free computer/internet use, Wifi, newspapers and magazines.
- They offer a full Lewisham Library service.
- NXL has desk spaces to work, and we also run learning activities and workshops.
- Read more about NXL here http://newxlearning.org/