Libraries around Mansfield and Ashfield lose £320,000 due to the impact of Covid pandemic

The organisation which operates libraries around Mansfield and Ashfield was hit by more than £1.6 million in losses related to the pandemic but held on in part thanks to Government grants.
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Inspire, the independent charity responsible for managing the service on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council, estimates the financial implications from Covid-19 were around £1,636,000.

This includes a slump in income of around £780,000, with the charity saying it could take until the end of the current financial year to completely recover.

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Those libraries based around the Mansfield and Ashfield areas, contribute £329,000 of the overall figure – with Mansgield Central Library losing £32,240, Kirkby Library losing £32,828, Sutton £20,088 and Huthwaite £31,249.

Smaller community libraries lost on average between £13,000 and £15,000 due to the pandemic.

The income losses come from services including libraries and archives, music teaching, education library services and adult learning fees, all of which were halted by the first lockdown in March 2020.

The charity estimates it has incurred a further £334,000 in additional costs, including making buildings Covid-secure and deploying ICT to enable staff and students to work from home.

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In the remaining part of the financial year, additional income losses of £236,000 and further fees of £286,000 amount to an expected £522,000 hit before April 2022.

However, the organisation has revealed it managed to maintain its finances by applying for Government Covid grants to bring in lost income.

Since the start of the pandemic, the charity has received £506,000 from the job retention (furlough) scheme, helping to ensure none of its 688 staff faced redundancy.

It also received more than £1 million in Government business grants spread across its libraries and community arts centres, supporting with implementing Covid safety measures.

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This includes £702,340 from the retail, hospitality and leisure grant, £168,900 in business rates relief and a further £163,342 from the restart grant.

It means, overall, thanks to the Government support, the organisation has only been hit with losses of around £95,000 since March last year.

Speaking on the financial pressures experienced by Inspire, the charity’s chief executive Peter Gaw said: “It’s a perfect storm of income reduction and extra costs.”

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