Operator of Hucknall libraries hit by £1.6 million losses due to Covid

The organisation which operates Hucknall and Edgewood libraries was hit by more than £1.6 million in losses related to the pandemic – but held on in part thanks to Government grants.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 9:25 am

Inspire, the independent charity responsible for managing the service on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council, estimates the financial implications from Covid-19 were around £1,636,000.

This includes a slump in income of around £780,000, with the charity saying it could take until the end of the current financial year to completely recover.

The income losses come from services including libraries and archives, music teaching, education library services and adult learning fees, all of which were halted by the first lockdown in March 2020.

Hucknall Library received more than £30,000 from Inspire in Government support
Hucknall Library received more than £30,000 from Inspire in Government support

The charity estimates it has incurred a further £334,000 in additional costs, including making buildings Covid-secure and deploying ICT to enable staff and students to work from home.

In the remaining part of the financial year, additional income losses of £236,000 and further fees of £286,000 amount to an expected £522,000 hit before April 2022.

However, the organisation has revealed it managed to maintain its finances by applying for Government Covid grants to bring in lost income.

Since the start of the pandemic, the charity has received £506,000 from the furlough scheme, helping to ensure none of its 688 staff faced redundancy.

It also received more than £1 million in Government business grants spread across its libraries and community arts centres, supporting with implementing Covid safety measures.

This includes £702,340 from the retail, hospitality and leisure grant, £168,900 in business rates relief and a further £163,342 from the restart grant.

It means, overall, thanks to the Government support, the organisation has only been hit with losses of around £95,000 since March last year.

Peter Gaw, Inspire chief executive, described the pandemic as a ‘perfect storm’ of lost income and extra costings.

He said: “We have quickly remodelled our budget to look at what the impact of Covid is on our finances.

“Our aspiration was to mitigate the potential of having to make staff redundancies or a reduction in services, and so we took advantage of Government retail and leisure grants, the business rates holidays and the job retention scheme.

“What we’ve been really careful to do is to make sure we only drew on funding that would meet our financial pressures.

“It’s a perfect storm of income reduction and extra costs.

"We were careful and our board have been focused on balancing out.

“Our ambition is very much starting to return our opening hours and delivery services back.

“Over the last couple of weeks, especially given the quarantining rules of books has eased, we have been able to expand opening hours where we can.

“There are practicalities because we need to make sure we’re operating alongside whatever restrictions are in place, but our aspiration is to do this.

“Our ambition is that by September we will be fully operational, but most of our libraries have got increasing levels of opening hours.”

Documents from Inspire have confirmed exactly how much each of its libraries and centres received in Government grants during the pandemic.

The figures show Hucknall Library received £33,173 while Edgewood Library got £12,920.

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