Wales

Swansea 'lifeline' home library service under threat

Books generic picture Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Books are a lifeline for many old and disabled people around Swansea

A "lifeline" service which delivers books to 200 housebound people could be axed as part of budget cuts.

It has run for 30 years, helps disabled people in remote parts of Swansea and its oldest user is aged 102.

The local council is consulting on its 2019-20 budget until 1 February and the book service is under threat.

While it would not confirm how much it costs to run the service, the authority needs to make £24.5m of savings in the next financial year.

Clive Hughes from Sketty, a former plumber, lost his sight suddenly four years ago and described audio books he receives as "like a lifeline".

"It's a great asset because, when I lost my sight, it did affect me mentally," he said.

"I had nothing to look forward to. I was driving one day, reading papers, watching the television and it all went like that.

"All of a sudden there was nothing to replace it."

Helen Hopkin, 84, from Pontarddulais, said: "I would be devastated without my reading material, and it's a lifeline for me."

A budget consultation said ways of making the book delivery and collection service cost-neutral had to be explored.

Those who used it and other interested groups would be asked for ideas on its future delivery, a spokesman said.

He added: "This could include a partnership with a charity or community groups.

"This approach has been successful in the past with the management of bowling greens and community centres which local groups are running effectively at lower cost to the council."

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