From left, Cllr Peter Bingham, Ben Crouch, the Rev Helen O’Sullivan, Cllr Dave Stewart, Cllr Elizabeth Bright, PCSO Cat Quinn and Sgt Mark Lyth. Picture by Peter Boam.
PARISH churches in rural South Wight are joining forces to try to buy the former Brighstone library building for use by the community.
They hope the library, which was axed as part of the Isle of Wight Council’s budget cuts, can be used as a hub where residents can have easy access to a range of services.
The churches are spearheaded by the Rev Helen O’Sullivan, priest in charge of Brighstone, Brook with Mottistone, Chale and Shorwell.
The group aims to buy the building under the Community Right to Bid scheme for use by organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, police and safer neighbourhood teams and voluntary and support organisations.
It could also be used by West Wight’s youth worker and the five parishes administrator, for information about baptism, weddings and pastoral support.
The idea was floated at a meeting of the five parish church councils last month. The proposal is also being supported by Cllr Peter Bingham, of Central Wight, and Cllr David Stewart, of Chale, Niton and Whitwell.
Mrs O’Sullivan said: "We saw an opportunity with the library being for sale to buy the site for use by the community.
"We needed somewhere to base our administration for the five churches and we thought if we could get the site, we could also make it available for people such as safer neighbourhoods."
"We are committed to adding to, not taking away from other community resources.
"We are not looking to compete with the other community assets but to complement them and to be a place where people might pop in if they are worried they haven’t seen a neighbour and generally build bridges between community and voluntary statutory agencies."
Those with an interest in the site can call Mrs O’Sullivan on 01983 740267 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org