Nottingham residents fearful of 'dreadful' cuts as libraries and vital lifelines expected to suffer

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Residents, students and Nottingham City Council staff say proposed cuts to services will tear apart communities and remove vital lifelines for the most vulnerable.

Council officers have proposed a series of cuts to services and jobs amid £53m budget gap in the year beginning April 2024, while the cumulative financial challenge is expected to reach £172m by 2028.

A separate £23m in-year budget gap also led to the issuing of a Section 114 notice, effectively declaring bankruptcy, in November.

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Niamh Iliff of campaign group Save Our Services, says the cuts will tear the community apart. Photo: OtherNiamh Iliff of campaign group Save Our Services, says the cuts will tear the community apart. Photo: Other
Niamh Iliff of campaign group Save Our Services, says the cuts will tear the community apart. Photo: Other

Under the plans, which executive councillors refused to recommend during a meeting at the Council House on February 13 the libraries service will again be reviewed in a bid to save £1.5m.

While the review is not yet defined, Coun David Mellen (Lab), council leader, said: “If we think that we are going to get more than £1m out of our libraries without closing some of them, then we are not living in the real world.”

Speaking at a protest outside the Council House, Des Conway, a campaigner for the Save Nottingham Libraries group which helped stop the closure of the Aspley, Basford and Radford-Lenton libraries in 2022, said: “It looks like they are going to revisit the whole libraries thing.

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“What is behind all of this stuff is Government underfunding of local services across the country, not just in Nottingham.

“The scale of the cuts this time are unprecedented, there are going to be care homes shut, libraries shut, leisure centres, museums, all places where people get enjoyment out of life.”

Niamh Iliff, from the newly-established Save Our Services group, added: “Student youth centres, community protection officers to adult residential care and even care homes, everyone is being directly impacted.

“The knock on effects of that is the community being torn apart, the pillars that tie us together are being shattered completely by these cuts.

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"What are they going to leave our city looking like? It’s dreadful.”

In the adult social care department, it is proposed all grant funding for lunch clubs for vulnerable adults will cease, The Oaks and Cherry Trees residential care homes will close at a loss of 88 jobs, while the Jackdawe in-house dementia care service and the Barkla Close residential respite care for adults with learning disabilities will also shut.

Clare Healy, aged 51, who works as a community care officer at the Mary Potter Centre, said: “Lunch clubs are a vital lifeline for many people.

"It prevents loneliness and keeps social interaction, but also people notice when people are declining, so that is a real worry that we will miss people with advancing dementia until they are in a real crisis.

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“Next year there are 44 full time equivalent posts due to go from my department.

"We are the people who assess people’s care needs to come out of hospital or to go into care homes, we can also refer to services like the lunch clubs that simply won’t exist.

“It is going to be a real detriment to the fabric of the city.”

Having refused to recommend the proposals, councillors are now taking legal advice and a final decision is expected to be made at full council in March.