Ideas invited for city community spaces

Published: 13 January 2023

Chellaston library

Chellaston Library

Derby City Council is calling for voluntary organisations and community groups to get in touch with ideas for how they could run any, or all, of the city’s 10 community spaces.

Like councils across the country, Derby is facing the immense challenge of setting a balanced budget in the midst of a ‘perfect storm’ of rising costs, abnormally high inflation rates and increasing demand.

Changes to library provision are part of a series of proposals planned to deliver a balanced budget for 2023/24, alongside an asset review to make best use of Council buildings. These proposals are out for consultation with Derby residents.

Now, the Council is inviting proposals from existing charities, organisations and constituted community groups who want to deliver services within the community library buildings that have clear benefits for their communities. 

This could offer an opportunity to explore a community hub model, which could include co-locating libraries with other services, and not incur any extra costs. The precise use of the buildings is open to negotiation.

Some groups have already contacted the Council to express interest in running and developing services, such as Knit and Natter groups and activities for toddlers, for their local communities.

Current budget proposals do not provide for any funding to run for additional use or opening hours of the building.

Community groups interested in running services from one or more of the buildings will need to be able to demonstrate ability to fundraise, seek and/or receive financial support from the public and/or private sector or have sufficient funds available to operate the services they want to provide. 

At this stage, detailed business plans are not required. Interested groups should initially outline their experience and ideas in an email and send to with the subject line “Community Space Proposal” by Friday 3 February.

Organisations that submit potentially viable proposals will then be invited to submit more detailed plans.

The ten library buildings are Allestree, Allenton, Blagreaves, Chaddesden Park, Chellaston, Derwent Community Library, Mackworth, Sinfin, Spondon and Springwood (Oakwood). 

Councillor Matthew Eyre, Cabinet Member for Community Development, Place and Tourism said:

Over the last two or three years, people’s use of libraries and expectations of public services has significantly changed and we’re all re-thinking how we spend our leisure time and use community spaces. 

This categorically is not the budget the Council wants to be setting. No one would choose to be in a position of so drastically changing services but, due to circumstances out of our control, we’re having to take some really, really difficult decisions.

That said, we cannot lose sight of the potential here, the chance to do things differently, and work with the city, for the city; with our communities, for our communities. This is an opportunity to make changes that will reflect the needs of the community and we are keen to get as many ideas as possible about the way existing library buildings can be used.

Voluntary and community groups are integral to our city, and we recognise their understanding of the needs, opportunities and strengths within their communities. They are well-placed to offer a quality service that provides what local people want.

I’d like to thank all the dedicated volunteers who have freely given hours of their time for all their efforts. They’ve shown passion and imagination and I’d urge them to share their ideas for how the library buildings could continue to be used.

The 10 libraries have been under the stewardship of DHA for five years under the Community Managed model and, under current budget proposals, budget for this delivery is removed.

Derby City Council launched its public consultation about budget proposals for 2023-2024 in December.

Anyone living, working or studying in Derby should have their say on the proposals, through the Let's Talk Derby website.

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