Cheque This Out! Werrington lands £2,000 to support the library

Local housing developer Lovell presented Werrington Community Managed Library with a £2,000 cheque on 14th February.

Lovell community liaison officer Helen Murphy says: “When we heard about the Library and Wellbeing Centre, we were keen to do everything we could to help this incredible community resource which is entirely run by volunteers and is a fantastic tribute to the hard work and enthusiasm of local people. As a company committed to making a difference in the neighbourhoods where we build, we aim to support community organisations like this wherever we can. The success of the village’s Library and Well-Being Centre reflects the energy and community spirit which make Werrington such a great place to live and we’re extremely pleased to be able to play a part in the project’s continuing development.”

The Werrington volunteers are particularly good at fundraising as they know their community well. The drive and commitment from the volunteers means that the community are confident that the money will be used wisely and that it is for a good cause.

So What?

£2,000 is a significant contribution towards the exciting plans that Werrington are busy working on. The status of the library and its volunteers is raised and good publicity gained.

Scotland, Shakespeare and the Hoard Discoveries Talk at Blythe Bridge

Kevin Colls, an archaeologist from Staffordshire University, shared his experiences with the riveted audience at Blythe Bridge Library on Wednesday 8th February. Kevin was one of the first on the scene once the Staffordshire Hoard was discovered in a field in Hammerwich, near Lichfield. He shared his fascinating stories about the different sites he has worked on which included Shakespeare’s family home in Stratford. He is very hands on, knowledgeable and has also worked with Chanel 4’s Time Team’s Tony Robinson. Helen Bickerton, Library Chairperson of the volunteer run library was really pleased with the event and the feedback on the night. “Lovely enjoyable evening with a great talk, very precise and very interesting!”

The audience was full of praise for the talk and requested “more talks like this one!” They also described the library volunteers as “Brilliant and efficient!”

Not forgetting Kevin – “He’s a local chap done good!”

So What?

The evening raised the profile of the library, with 32 people attending it also raised funds and increased visitors into the library.

Werrington Breast Babies

Mums in Werrington faced with cuts to the services offered by Health Visitors have in their local volunteer run library have taken on the running of the newly named, Werrington’s Breast Babies. The long running Fab Café service was cut but the mums have not only re-started the sessions themselves but have also developed a fun range of activities too. All within the space of about 3 weeks! The friendly group welcome all mums wanting advice, help and support with breastfeeding. Refreshments are provided for a suggested donation of £1, pop along on a Thursday between 10-12pm. Having the chance to meet up can be a godsend to new mums and our volunteers are very quick to recruit them and their tiny babies to the library!

So What?

12 mums and babies have continued to visit the library every week, and new babies have joined increasing the usage of the library.

Knutton Community Managed Library

We are looking forward to working with Knutton St. Mary’s C of E Primary Academy as they move closer to taking on the Community Managed Library. It has been fantastic to be involved with the process as they become more confident and are starting to come up with exciting ideas for the library. In order to bring this relationship to people’s attention locally we have attended a number of events at the school to talk to parents and families, including parent’s evening and the school’s Science Week community event.

We really want local people to be involved and have been door knocking in the area to increaseKnutton Library awareness of the library and build support. We talked to a number of interested people and were successful in raising the profile of the library in the community.

If you are interested in volunteering in Knutton Community Managed Library please contact Matthew Howard on 07866 921873 or matthew.howard@staffordshire.gov.uk

So What?

By raising the profile of both the library and volunteering in the Knutton area, we aim to encourage more community members to come forward and engage in this new community project.

Audley Community Managed Library

Audley Library transferred to community management on 13th February 2017. The volunteers and management committee are doing an excellent job developing a local resource in the village. The 28 volunteers have formed a tight group supporting each other during training and during the day to day operation of the library.

The group have already gained support from the local community, with donations received from Audley Rural Parish Council, Rotary Club, The Cobbles Antique Shop and many other library users and members of the community. The committee would like to express their thanks to all who have supported the new venture.

The group have got plans to develop the library and services offered further in the future, why not pop in and find out more.

The picture shows volunteer and committee Chairperson David Heath during his ‘shift’.

So What?

28 members of the community are supporting the delivery of the library in Audley, for the benefit of the whole community.

Next Steps in Newcastle

A very enjoyable morning was spent at Newcastle under Lyme College promoting volunteer opportunities in Staffordshire Libraries. Sharing a stand with Support Staffordshire we promoted to students the value of volunteering for the wider community. We also discussed the value of volunteering to the individual, and the importance it can have to students in building confidence, learning new skills and giving them valuable experience outside of the college environment.

Throughout the morning we spoke to 70 students and staff and handed out more than 80 leaflets.

So What?

This event raised the profile of Staffordshire Libraries and volunteering in libraries to the student population and a new audience who we may not normally come into contact with.

Why We Volunteer

Over the past few months, we’ve been talking to our volunteers about why they volunteer for Staffordshire Libraries, what they enjoy about it and what benefits they get from it.

Take a look at the videos to hear what our volunteers think about their new role.

So What?

People who volunteer have found that their volunteering role can be social, stimulating, rewarding and fun!

Our volunteers bring lots of ideas and many skills with them to their volunteering role.  This group of volunteers have been discussing setting up a new craft group at the library which would extend the range of services on offer at the library and hopefully encourage people who do not currently use the library to visit and find out all the services on offer.

Support for Job Seekers at Community Managed Libraries

Staffordshire Community Managed Libraries are venues for many different types of activities, from social events, children’s activities to job support.

Holmcroft and Rising Brook Community Managed Libraries, and Stafford Library, provide library space and access to computers for Job Clubs, run by Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH). This provides convenient access for local people to get help with writing CVs, job searching, job applications as well as IT, all completely free of charge to the participants.

Laura MacPhee, Customer Engagement Advisor at SARH said: “The three locations mean that people can easily access the facilities using local transport networks. It can be daunting looking for a job and we are here to support and encourage people of all ages and abilities to develop their confidence in applying for a job and helping them to find suitable vacancies. As well as assisting people to fill out application forms, we can help them manage other issues that may hinder them in finding work”.

The Job Club is open to anyone to drop in on Mondays at Stafford Library between 10am-12pm, Tuesdays at Holmcroft Library between 2pm-4pmandThursdays at Rising Brook Library between 10am-12pm.

So What?

Job Club attendee, Lorraine Antrobus, commented: “I have been attending the Job Club for a while now, it has really helped me build my confidence and apply for positions I wouldn’t have considered before. As well as improving my reading, writing and IT skills, the ongoing support from SARH also gave me the opportunity to further my skills with a CIEH Level 2 qualification in First Aid.”

Baby Bouncing and Rhyming at Rising Brook Library!

Every Friday morning at 10.30am, the Baby Bounce and Rhyme session is in full swing at Rising Brook Community Managed Library.

This has taken place since the library opened as a community managed library at the end of May 2016. Since then, the session has attracted more and more parents and babies and currently 15 babies and parents regularly enjoy songs, rhymes and musical instruments! The event is also a social event for the parents and carers, who stay for a cup of coffee and a chat after the session.

So What?

Sharing songs and rhymes with babies with others in an informal and supportive session has been proven to provide a strong foundation for learning to read – it is said that good rhymers make good readers! Coming to the library from a young age introduces babies to books and book borrowing, which hopefully will encourage a lifelong love of reading. The session also provides a welcome opportunity for parents to meet and chat, which is particularly valuable for those whose first language is not English.

Having a Hoot at Half Term

Despite only being up and running for less than 2 months as a Community Managed Library, the team of volunteers at Kinver didn’t waste any time in organising a couple of exciting half term activities.

A craft workshop was run by Gilly, one of the very talented volunteers, where children produced some fantastic designs and The World Owl Trust also brought along a couple of feathered friends where both children and adults had the opportunity to handle the birds and have photos taken, as well as learning about their life and habitats.

So What?

17 children came along to the craft workshop and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. This is first activity aimed at children during the holidays but certainly won’t be the last – so watch this space.

An outstanding 250 visitors came to the library to see the owls and we joined 5 new members to the library. As the library was only open for just under 4 hours on the day that was an incredible response to the event on offer and there was some very positive press coverage from the Stourbridge News too.

Photos show visitors getting up close and personal with Indie the long eared owl and Barney the barn owl