GLOUCESTERSHIRE County Council has received more than 20 “expressions of interest” from community groups considering taking over the running of youth clubs and libraries in the county.

The interest from the groups follows a meeting on the council’s Big Community Offer earlier this month attended by more than 155 people from across Gloucestershire.

Among those attending were representatives of voluntary and community groups, town and parish councils and social enterprises.

The meeting heard from GCC leader, Mark Hawthorne and Mark Parker, lead officer for the Big Community Offer project, about the Big Community Offer scheme, which is looking at local volunteers taking over the running of facilities such as libraries as part of an overhaul of public services.

There are currently 24 buildings – 12 library and 12 youth centres – available to communities across Gloucestershire as the county council looks to save £108million from its budget in the next four years.

Among those expressing interest were groups looking to purchase land for grazing, for use as allotments, to using buildings for library and youth centre mergers and social care.

Mr Parker said: “We were surprised and very pleased by the level of enthusiasm and interest expressed by community groups towards the Big Community Offer.

“This seminar is the very start of conversations and between now and February we hope community groups who have expressed an interest will develop their proposals further.

“Any groups who could not attend the event can find out more and express their interest at”

Peppercorn rents are being offered on buildings to make them attractive for transfer to community groups.

People can also apply for a grant of up to 50 per cent of the sale from a building available for transfer to invest in an existing community building.

Further support includes match funded maintenance grants for upkeep of buildings and the Supporting Active Communities Grant.