Cricklewood library campaigner hailed community champion

Sally Long, from Friends of Cricklewood Library, accepting a Community Champion Award from Cllr Lesl

Sally Long, from Friends of Cricklewood Library, accepting a Community Champion Award from Cllr Lesley Jones, mayor of Brent - Credit: Archant

A Cricklewood library campaigner has been honoured as a community champion.

Sally Long, chair of Friends of Cricklewood Library (FCL), was honoured at the Brent Community Champions Awards, in Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way on Wednesday.

Mayor of Brent Cllr Lesley Jones presented the award to the library campaigner in an evening attended by Carolyn Downs, chief executive of Brent Council and council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt.

Ms Long, on crutches following knee surgery, was nominated for campaigning to save Cricklewood Library, which is due to reopen in 2016, as well as her work with Friends of Gladstone Park.

The library in Olive Road, first built in 1929, was one of six to be closed in 2011 to save Brent Council £1m.

In June it was demolished by its new owners Luxap Ltd, who will build a four-storey development on site with the ground floor given to the campaigners to run as a community library.

She said: “Nothing was going to stop me getting here. This Community Champion award is being given to me for working alongside a fantastic group of people to save Cricklewood Library and make the most of the amazing Gladstone Park.

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Led by Ms Long, FCL is working with residents, councillors, charities, businesses and the private developers to raise a new library from the ground.

She said: “It’s a new model, a new approach, the community, having had no say in the library closing, has built stronger links within the borough and further afield, and is helping to directly shape the future of the area.

“I’m thrilled to get the award. It’s been a long hard slog, and to many it seemed impossible that the library would ever reopen. But this area is growing and needs a library more than ever, and keeping this in mind it was a matter of taking one step at a time to get the right outcome, and refusing to settle for less. Now we’ve just got to raise the funds to kit it out!”

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