Volunteers who run the thriving community hub at the Old Library on Muller Road have launched a campaign to raise funds to complete vital repairs.
Work is starting this summer on £84,000 of alterations, including fixing a leaky roof and installing an accessible toilet and fire escape.
The former Eastville Library, which dates from the 1950s, was closed in city council budget cuts – and taken over by locals in a Community Asset Transfer in 2015. Repairs started in 2020 but the builder left the site and work was never completed.
With work about to re-start, volunteers are appealing to local people to dig deep and help raise enough money to preserve the building.
It is home to dozens of community groups, and is used for activities including a repair café, forest school, after school club and part-time community café.
One of the charity directors, Nicky Sweetland, said the small group of volunteers who run The Old Library are determined to get the building back into shape. They have been running a Crowdfunder campaign, and are having a fund raising garden party at the library on Saturday July 8, with three bands, a bar and a barbecue.
She said: “It’s really busy and appreciated by local people, they really love the community hub and it would be shame if it was lost.
“The hub is there to enrich the community and bring joy into people’s lives. At a time when everyone is struggling, we want to keep it as an affordable space for people.”
The Old Library has some funds for the work, but needs to raise another £50,000. Volunteers hope the work can be finished in time for the autumn.
Kate, who runs the Bristol Umbrella Singers, an inclusive choir that meet severy Friday in the space, said: “The Old Library is a brilliant, welcoming space, but the current facilities just need improving and modernising. There is only one loo and often a queue!”
Nicky Sweetland said “The lack of an accessible toilet has been holding us back for years. We are really hoping that this Crowdfunder will enable us to finally get the facilities that we desperately need.”
The Crowdfunder runs until July 6 here: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/olbuild23
More details about the Garden Party and other ways to help are on the Old Library website: http://theoldlibrary.org.uk/