Lee Hub praised for making Lee-on-the-Solent a more tight-knit community
A LIBRARY saved from closure by the community is transforming the surrounding area by bringing everyone closer together.
In July last year, Hampshire County Council axed eight libraries across the county, including one in Lee-on-the-Solent.
But a group of trustees managed to take over the same High Street space and create Lee Hub – which is so much more than a standard library service.
Alongside the 9,000 books available to borrow, Lee Hub has become a true community treasure, offering a range of clubs for people to join.
Operating under Covid-19 regulations, it has brought together people who would otherwise never have met, and is thus receiving strong praise for strengthening the community.
Trustee Paul Twine said: ‘From the outset we wanted to do more for people in Lee-on-the-Solent.
‘We have a group for new parents and babies – many of whom haven’t met with other families in months – along with a Lego and Duplo construction club, an arts and crafts group and so much more.
‘Social isolation has been a huge problem since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. What’s more, many in Lee-on-the-Solent can’t travel far, so it’s vital to have a central hub that offers everything they will need.’
So far, Lee Hub has accumulated 250 members, who donate as they feel.
Local councillors have also pledged portions of their allowances to help meet the £20,000 per year operating costs.
Paul added: ‘The journey we have been on is really encouraging, but for us it’s just the start.
‘As Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed further there will be more that we can offer to people in Lee-on-the-Solent.
‘People have really missed one another and so these are important steps for all of us.’
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage recently paid a visit of her own, to see how the venue has progressed.
She said: ‘Libraries play a key role in our communities – improving education and skills, hosting community groups as well as reducing loneliness and social isolation.
‘To keep Lee Hub up and running as a community facility is such an achievement for all of those involved and it was great to meet with the trustees to thank them and visit Lee Hub in action.’