RESIDENTS have formed a new organisation in order to support Padgate Library.

The Friends of Padgate Library has been formed in recent weeks, following on from similar groups formed in Penketh, Stockton Heath, Lymm and Culcheth.

These groups were started in the wake of Livewire's proposals to close a number of Warrington's libraries in 2016.

But their plans were halted last year, with libraries instead 'subject to robust business plans'.

And friends groups aim to assist the libraries with these plans.

Albert Hartley, acting chairman of the Friends of Padgate Library Group, said: "The library is vital to the community, because it gives a great deal of support to community activities.

"It acts as a central point for the area - apart from the books themselves, there are computers for people who don't have their own and of course there is plenty of information which people can access.

"The library also helps schools, who use it to get children more involved in reading to improve their education.

"Basically, the idea of the group is to help with the library and its activities.

"With the cuts that are being made to libraries, staff can't do what they used to be able to do and so we are going to help with various activities and in any way that we can."

The group will hold an open meeting at 6.30pm on Thursday, May 3, at Padgate Library in order to share their plans with the community.

Mr Hartley, of Solway Close in Fearnhead, added: "The problem is that Livewire have concerns about cash, and they need to get value for money out of the libraries service.

"Because other place have their friends groups, we thought that it was important to have one in Padgate too to support the library as much as possible.

"We will now be able to say that Padgate Library has great support in the community."

Cllr Tony Higgins, Warrington Borough Council's executive board member for leisure and community, said: "I'm really pleased that so many of our residents are getting behind the campaign to support our libraries by organising friends of libraries groups.

"The community getting behind supporting such organisations will only strengthen our library service.

"I'm immensely proud of what we've achieved in Warrington.

"Retaining our library service could only be achieved with the support of the community and the ambition we have for them as a council."