WHEN Addingham Community Library was under threat of closure several years ago the local community stepped in to save it.

However, over the last two years the team of volunteers and the Parish Council have faced difficult challenges, including having to close the old listed building which houses the library after discovering serious structural defects during refurbishment work.

Since then the library has been run in a drafty portable cabin with its stock of books looked after by village residents in their own homes.

But now the library volunteers are “whooping with joy” after being awarded £50,000 from a charity fund.

The Garfield Weston Foundation trustees were so impressed by the ambition and determination shown by volunteers and the local parish council that they have awarded the money to help towards the refurbishment of the old library building.

Now the ambitious plans for the library, including the creation of a local heritage resource with a local history archive and tourism information service, can get under way.

Carol Hindle, trustee and volunteer at Addingham Library, said: “I couldn’t believe the news – I didn’t know whether I was crying or whooping with joy.

“This funding award will keep the library alive in our small village and make it possible for us to offer so much more besides. I’ve been a volunteer in the library right from the beginning, and I would have been devastated to lose it. I am so grateful to the Garfield Weston Foundation, our trustees, parish council and volunteers who have stuck with us through this difficult patch.

“Addingham has had a library as long as I can remember – the place just wouldn’t be the same without it. We have had so many letters of support for keeping a library in the village, and people have been marvellous in continuing to support us while we have had to operate from our tiny cramped tin hut.

“We can’t wait to get back into our home and set up the new heritage centre and hub as well. This will mean so much for all our volunteers, our users and everyone in the village – we need to keep library services going in Addingham for many years to come.”

The Garfield Weston Foundation has more then doubled its £5m capital fund to over £11m so it can support over 150 charities and community organisations across the UK. Charities across Yorkshire will receive over £1.1m from the fund.

The Garfield Weston Foundation’s Director, Philippa Charles, said: “What really impressed our trustees is the amount of volunteering and community involvement that’s going on across the UK. We heard about so many amazing projects involving people who are helping their communities thrive - regardless of cuts, Brexit debates and other challenges.

“The response from charities to this new fund clearly demonstrates the voluntary sector is proactive and energetic; far from the complacency it is sometimes accused of.

“Yet we can also see the level of need that exists in our local communities and how much the services charities provide are so desperately needed. The impact of these grants will be significant, with benefits for many people lasting years.”