Kensal Rise library campaigner honoured as community champion

Margaret Bailey, chair of Friends of Kensal Rise Library, with Cllr Muhammed Butt, has been awarded

Margaret Bailey, chair of Friends of Kensal Rise Library, with Cllr Muhammed Butt, has been awarded a Brent Community Champion by the council - Credit: Archant

A relentless library campaigner in Kensal Rise has been honoured as a community champion.

Margaret Bailey, chair of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FKRL), has been awarded by Brent Council for outstanding service to the community.

The Brent Community Champions Awards are held annually to honour and recognise individuals who have given outstanding community and voluntary service in Brent.

Ms Bailey has led the five year fight to save the library service in Bathurst Gardens since it was closed by the council in 2011, and handed back to its freehold owners All Souls College.

In a fight that has drawn local residents together in defense of a beloved institution, FKRL challenged Brent’s decision to close the branch via public demonstrations, a judicial review and a series of high-profile events which helped put library closures on the national agenda.

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Since it closed FKRL has fought to restore the library service under the building’s subsequent owners.

All Soul College sold the building to Platinum Revolver who in turn sold it to Uplift Properties in May this year.

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The campaigners, led by Ms Bailey, have now secured a guaranteed space on the ground floor for a volunteer-run library.

That space will be rent-free in perpetuity, while the rest of the building will be converted into residential units.

Ms Bailey said: “I’m delighted by this award but it should really go to everybody in Kensal Rise and beyond who has worked over the last five years to save our precious library. Above all, we now need to raise the funds to make our new community library viable, so I appeal to businesses, donors and trusts to help us secure our future.”

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