COUNCILLORS will get their first opportunity to discuss whether using libraries as centres to access council services across Blaenau Gwent is working.

A report to be presented at a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Corporate Overview scrutiny committee on Friday, September 10 looks at how the library community hub model has been working over the summer.

Aneurin Leisure runs libraries on behalf of the council,

The community hubs first opened their doors on June 21.

The progress update report by Blaenau Gwent’s commercial and customer chief officer, Bernadette Elias also includes a number of case studies that explain the work done by staff to help residents.

The report says that the main type of help being asked for is on Council Tax, benefit application, blue badge applications, to report issues and to pay for services.

Ms Elias said: “The information shows that there is very often additional support being offered over and above the initial request during the

interaction with residents.”

One of the case studies explained how the library/community hub in Ebbw Vale dealt with an issue.

They said: “Customer came into Ebbw Vale library and said he was homeless after a relationship breakdown and was staying in a friend’s garage and needed help with housing.

“He had no bank account or ID as his partner had destroyed all his belongings.

“Housing were contacted and they provided a mobile contact number for customer to ring them from a friend’s phone and said they would help him apply for housing.

“A referral was made for support so they could help him to get a bank account and issue food vouchers if necessary.

“The customer said he was very grateful for help as he had been struggling for a week and all the services he needed to access were closed.”

The report said as an outcome of the hub’s work, Pobl housing association were working with the man to open a bank account and discuss accommodation.

Councillors will be asked to provide comments or recommendations to the report before it is discussed by the Executive team.

The hubs are based at Abertillery, Brynmawr, Tredegar, and Ebbw Vale libraries.

Blaina, Cwm and Llanhilleth libraries are also community hubs but operated a more restricted schedule over the summer which will be looked at again soon.