A thriving ladies’ knitting group has said goodbye to the public library where it says it no longer feels welcome – after finding a new home for its weekly meetings.
The 30-strong Knit and Natter group – which makes items such as baby hats and blankets for the NHS – has now left its base in Cramlington Library and is heading for pastures new.
Starting next week, members will hold their Wednesday morning get-togethers in part of Venue, a youth centre at the town’s Manor Walks shopping centre.
The group, which includes disabled and partially-sighted members, has met at the library for three years, after being asked by Northumberland County Council officials to set up there and boost its usage.
But since the library recently moved into a new, multi-function building, the knitters feel they are no longer wanted. There have been complaints that their meetings take up too much space, and that the noise they make disturbs some library users.
Library officials said they could stay if they were prepared to split themselves into two smaller groups, but that idea was rejected as the knitters want to stay together for social reasons.
Yesterday Margaret Derrick, one of the six founders members, said the new meeting place had been agreed after group members visited it this week.
“It is an upstairs space and a smashing little place which I didn’t even know existed.
“Cramlington Town Council put us in touch with the youth group which runs it, and it is going to be our new home. About 15 of us went there yesterday to have a look and everyone was delighted with it.
“We will not be going back to the library and we still feel let down and a bit used by the county council. We are probably too untidy for the new library, which has a more clinical atmosphere than the old one.
“We would never have been comfortable there because they would never have been happy with us. Ever since we moved there we have felt a bit unwanted, not by the actual library staff, who have been brilliant, but by the county. They have never been back in touch with me about an alternative venue.”
County councillor for Cramlington North Wayne Daley, who is also a town councillor, said: “I’m delighted that a Cramlington youth project has come up trumps for the ladies, and that they can continue to do their knitting for the NHS.
“I’m pleased this is now sorted, but questions must be asked about how the Labour-run county council can have considered throwing out a group of grannies, and who approved this decision.”
The county council has said it values the contribution of the knitting group and wants it to continue meeting in the new Cramlington Library. However, officials say the group regularly attracts up to 30 people and has outgrown the library space.
A county council spokeswoman said: “We are sad to see the knitting group go, but we’re really pleased to see that they’ve found a new space.”
We are probably too untidy for the new library, which has a more clinical atmosphere