I wish to present a petition that has been signed by 1,740 local residents, predominantly in Belgrave in Leicester. The petition was collected by volunteers in the local area: Mr Praful Mashru, Mr Kishorebhai Bojak, Mr Amratbhai Shyamji, Mr Vajubhai Madlani, Mrs Lilaben Doshi, Mr Vinod Kotecha, Mr Gagendrabhai Chhatrisha, Mr K. Koteeha, Mr A. Sevak and Mrs M. Mashru, and local councillors Mo Chohan, Manjula Sood and John Thomas.
The council proposes closing the Belgrave library and neighbourhood centre’s lunch club. The proposals have been brought forward by the assistant mayor, Councillor Kirk Master, who is consulting people and will consider what to do next, but residents are very concerned that these important projects might be closed, and that is why they are urging the city council to think again and to keep the library open—and the lunch club, too, which serves many elderly constituents, who have been going there for the last 40 years.
The petition states:
The petition of residents of Leicester East,
Declares that Leicester City Council’s plans to move the Belgrave Library will have a detrimental effect on the whole community, local school children and other members of the public; further that it will have to downsize the services currently provided such as access to computers, national newspapers, reading classes and book review sessions; further that moving it to Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre is not conducive to the atmosphere of what a library is and should be; further that the Belgrave Library is one of the few libraries remaining in Leicester; further that the residents are also concerned about Leicester City Council’s plans to remove the cooking facilities at the Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre, which currently serves the Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre Lunch Club which provides freshly cooked and culturally appropriate vegetarian hot meals to the elderly, disabled, diabetics and vulnerable people in the community; further that if the cooking facilities were to be removed, these communities would be deprived not only of a hot meal but also of their ability to be sociable and receive support on things that they do not understand; and further that they will become isolated and a burden on Leicester City Council who would need to provide more specialist individual care.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to encourage Leicester City Council to reconsider their decision to move the Belgrave Library to Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre and further encourage the Council not to remove the cooking facilities in Belgrave Neighbourhood as it provides a vital service to the elderly in the community.
And the petitioners remain, etc.