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SALFORD HERITAGE SERVICES TO BE SLASHED
 

Star date: 2nd May 2013

SALFORD COMMUNITY LEISURE TO END UK'S FIRST FREE LIBRARY

Salford Council boasts on its website about the city having the UK's first unconditionally free library at Peel Park. But now that is to end, according to Salford City UNISON, as cuts by Salford Community Leisure hit heritage services, while Salford City Art Gallery and Museum, and Ordsall Hall face partial closure. And all done with no public consultation.

Full details here…


Ordsall Hall Salford
click image to enlarge

Staff working for Salford Community Leisure met last week and have vowed to oppose cuts to the city's heritage services, which includes four redundancies, partial closure of Salford City Art Gallery and Museum and Ordsall Hall, and a move to an appointment-only service at the Local History Libraryon the Peel Park site of the UK's first unconditionally free library.

Salford Community Leisure (SCL), which manages what's left of Salford Council's culture service, is currently attempting to downgrade the significance of the Library on its website, stating…

"Public libraries have been around since the 19th century. Salford boasts the first unconditionally free public library in the United Kingdom, which opened at Peel Park in 1850. But this heritage and history does not always help when we are trying to change people's perceptions and raise the profile of 21st century libraries that today provide much more than books…"

According to Salford City UNISON, which represents SCL staff, the well used Local History Library will have just one employee when the cuts are implemented, which means it "will have to reduce to an appointment-only service".

Meanwhile, the Memories Matter service will close. This fantastic service, which helps older people remember old Salford and aids those struggling with the onset of dementia, lends boxes, exhibitions and picture packs to over 300 organisations working with an estimated 5,500 people in the city.

Other cuts include…

The loss of LifeTimes Link, the local history publication which has around 300 subscribers, with about 18,000 people accessing the current online version and 12,000 people a month accessing online past issues.

The end of support for local history groups and societies

The end of interpretation and support for exhibitions in the LifeTimes Gallery and the end of access to LifeTimes photographic and oral history collection.

As previously reported in Salford Star (see here), Ordsall Hall and Salford Museum and Art Gallery will shut for one day per week, meaning a loss of visits and vital heritage learning for school kids. This, despite a £6.5million refit of Ordsall Hall, designed to increase accessibility and visitor numbers. Now private weddings are to be hosted on Fridays, with the Hall shut to the public (see here).

Meanwhile, SCL already has a notice on its website concerning Salford Art Gallery and Museum… "From Monday 13 May 2013 our opening hours will change. The museum and gallery will be closed every Monday…"

Salford City UNISON has issued the following statement…

"After news of the planned implementation broke, Salford Unison SCL Unison members met last week and agreed to oppose these cuts and consider action to defend these jobs and services.

"Salford City Unison is extremely disappointed that Salford Community Leisure, Salford City Council's Chief Executive, Barbara Spicer, and the Mayor have ignored our request for a full public consultation. Over a thousand people have signed petitions to oppose reductions in service at Salford Museum and Art Gallery and Ordsall Hall but they have been ignored.

"In fact, incredibly the responses from the Mayor and the Chief Executive pretend there is no reduction in service, despite the fact that four workers face redundancy, others cuts in hours, and both the buildings will be closed for one day a week."

 

* Ordsall Hall has been selected as a finalist in the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year category of the prestigious Visit England Awards for Excellence 2013 - let's hope the judges don't turn up on a Friday when the Hall is closed for private weddings!

See also previous Salford Star article on the Heritage Cuts…

* Ordsall Hall To Shut as SCL Fat Cats Cash In – click here


 

Michael Felse wrote
at 20:38:22 on 02 May 2013
Respect the people of Salford and the history of the City. I urge Salford Council to understand that they each are elected with a duty to protect and save all Salford Heritage and the vulnerable people Services.
 
mary Ferrer wrote
at 18:38:59 on 02 May 2013
This Council couldn't give a toss about our heritage. You only have to look at what they have allowed to happen over the years. As for public consultation, they don't know the bloody meaning of the word. If they had asked what the people of Salford wanted, do you think they would listen,big fat NO. So will we now see the mini bloody mayor for heritage and culture given the chop, because what are they doing, We won't have any heritage or culture for them to make a balls of as they have already done their bit.We could save a bob or two there.
 
Salford Resident wrote
at 16:23:52 on 02 May 2013
"But this heritage and history does not always help..." SCl and Salford Council act like heritage is a burden on them! These cuts are obviously ideological- Salford Council does not want to protect what it sees as unhelpful institutions that do not fit into the Salford they want to create. I do not know if that Salford is somewhere I would want to live.
 
Bernard Brough wrote
at 14:38:36 on 02 May 2013
How much longer are we going to tolerate these philistines. It must be obvious by now that Salford Council have no interest in any part of Salford that is not in the immediate vicinity of Salford Quays. I can not make my mind up whether they are whoring themselves to Peel Holdings in the hope, a rather folorn hope, that something might be thrown Salford's way or are they just plain stupid. One thing for sure is that these cretins have no respect for the people of Salford or the history of the City. Then again to respect something one must first have knowledge of it. Something that seem to be lacking among Salford's councillors.
 
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