A FORMER council worker of the year has lost her job as part of cost cutting plans to the county’s library service.
Steph Edkins, who has worked at Woodrow Library since 2006, was axed from her role as manager as part of Worcestershire County Council’s restructuring of how libraries are run.
The shake-up has resulted in nine jobs being cut across the county, with six taking voluntary redundancies and a further three being made redundant.
All the posts affected are manager roles and the council insists no frontline staff have been affected. The move has saved in the region of £120,000.
As part of the restructure, libraries are now paired up with one or more libraries to form a cluster which will have one manager.
In the town, Redditch will now be joined with Woodrow, but the existing Redditch manager chose to transfer to another library cluster so there is now a vacancy for the post.
But the departure of Ms Edkins – who was local government worker of the year in 2009 – has left many residents frustrated because of her work transforming the services on offer including the way she built links with young people and residents, using their views to create new projects. In 2013 she won a Pride of Redditch Award for her contribution to the community.
Yvonne Hillier, who was helped back into work by Steph and her team at Woodrow Library, said her reward for all she has done for the community was to discover herself out of a job.
“Anyone who visits Woodrow Library now will discover a very different community space to the one that existed a few months ago.” she said.
“Gone is the uplifting and energetic atmosphere Steph and her team ensured was always present, to be replaced with one of apathy and defeatism which is not helped by the fact staff morale is incredibly low due to them not being kept informed of all the county council’s changes during the restructuring of the library service.”
County councillor Pattie Hill, who represents Woodrow, said Steph’s departure was a great loss to the community.
“She went above and beyond for everyone at the library, she had strong links with the community and children and parents loved her.”