MAINDEE Library could be saved from closure and become a community centre if Newport Council agrees to let a group of volunteers take it over.

Community group and charity Maindee Unlimited has approached Newport City Council asking to take over the library as a community asset on licence for the next 18 months.

Around 50 volunteers would be needed each week to run it in shifts, but if successful a longer term arrangement could be worked out.

The library is due to close this September after Newport Council announced they were making city-wide cuts to library provision and could no longer run it.

If the proposal is approved next Thursday, August 13, Maindee Library would be opened as a community centre hopefully just two months later.

John Hallam, programme manager for Maindee Unlimited, said the community is “still reeling” from the decision to close the library but the group have received some “really, really good offers of help”.

Councillor Christine Jenkins said: “We could not save it, we tried really hard. But something positive has come out of something negative.”

The community space would have a strong focus on IT but could be used for local businesses, to improve the street environment and also develop projects to reduce fuel poverty.

Maindee Unlimited was created last year after residents, Maindee Festival Association and ward councillors wanted to regenerate and find the “heart and soul” of the area.

A report to Councillor Gail Giles, the cabinet member for people and business change, says the organisation will run a number of pilot programmes while developing a full bid to the Big Lottery for a Community Asset Transfer for £50,000.

In May this year Maindee Unlimited submitted an application to the Big Lottery fund and will find out in October if this stage has been initially approved.

Mr Hallam added: “Maindee Unlimited is all about regenerating the area so it’s a real priority for us to get the building open as soon as possible.

“I have much hope that the plans will be supported in the civic centre.

“Right now the most important thing for us is to recruit more volunteers.”

So far around six people have said they will definitely help as well as the group’s volunteers themselves.

Councillor Christine Jenkins said: “It’s a dream for everybody in Maindee.

“We desperately need something like this in Maindee.

“One lady rang me up and asked if we could have bingo and I said of course we can. It’s brilliant”.

If approved, it means the council will provide zero rent and spend up to £2,500 looking after internal and external maintenance for the next 18 months.

The report recommends offering the 18 month licence to Maindee Unlimited.

Councillor Gail Giles will make the decision on the proposal after consulting with all council members.