VOLUNTEERS set to take over a library in North Hampshire have received a boost after a £10,000 grant from Hampshire County Council.

Odiham library was one of eight across the county shut by the authority last year in a bid to save £1.76 million.

But after volunteers, co-ordinated by Odiham Parish Council which is based in the same building as the library, signalled their intent to takeover the running of the library, they were able to apply for a five-figure transition grant.

It was officially ratified by Councillor Edward Heron, HCC's executive member for recreation, heritage, countryside and rural affairs, yesterday (Tuesday).

He replaced Cllr Sean Woodward, the man who made the final decision to close the eight libraries, in the role last year.

Cllr Heron said: "We were faced, last year, with the very difficult decision to close eight of our libraries to ensure that the best possible service could be maintained at the other 40 libraries across the county.

"It has been very heartening to see the communities in these areas pulling together, to enable library services to continue in a different way.

"In these very financially challenging times for local authorities, positive action from volunteers adds enormous value to the services that the County Council provides. I hope that, through these grants, we can help these new Independent Community Libraries to be a great success.

“Hampshire Libraries continue to provide a wide range of services to communities all over the county, recognising the role that access to books, learning opportunities and social activities play in people’s wellbeing.

"We are very pleased to be working alongside community groups who share our values.”

HCC describe the grants as "one-off pump-priming awards, intended to support start up and transition costs".

Five community organisations applied for grants to take over shut libraries, including in Elson, Horndean, Lee and Lyndhurst.

Odiham Parish Council intend to take over the library in a book exchange model, with the aim of it being launched in late Spring.