The Blythe Centre at the Heart of the Community

The Blythe Centre was at the heart of the celebration held to thank the long serving Staffordshire County Councillor Bill Day for his many years of service to the community. The event on Wednesday 7th June was organised by the Community Committee to thank him for the support he has shown the local area. The centre was transformed by Helen Bickerton and her team of volunteers and was the perfect place to host the celebration. The Red Brick Café prepared the delicious food and Tracy Mycock from the Care and Fun Club originally made the superb cake, all of which came as a complete surprise to Bill on the night.

So What?

The Blythe Centre is becoming a place to host key events and milestones celebrations. It is somewhere everyone can come together and celebrate their achievements, it’s definitely at the heart of the community.

The Photograph is by kind permission of the Cheadle Tean and Times

Werrington Smashes the Summer Reading Challenge Target!

Werrington Library has smashed its target of 132 starters overall for the Summer Reading Game by the end of the second week! They have already signed up 127 children to the challenge to read 6 books over the summer holidays by the end of week 2. Two children have already completed the challenge and have collected all their stickers, certificate and gold medal. This year Brian Hughes, the Library Manager, accompanied the Stock Services and Activities Officer into Werrington Primary School to talk to the children at a School Assembly. All the children know Brian as most of the classes visit the library, they were all keen to join up and have a go.

Let’s hope all our keen readers manage to finish the challenge by the 11th September.

So What?

More issues and more visits in a nutshell! Plus, confident readers will return to school in September knowing they are a medal winner.

The volunteers had only just taken over the running of the library last year and then they managed to deliver the Summer Reading Game and made a brilliant job of it considering all they had to learn. This year they have had the opportunity to offer more events and activities for families and have surpassed all expectations. The Stock and Services and Activities Officer and I managed to plan in some specific training at the library in Werrington so that the volunteers feel more confident in promoting the challenge this year. Library staff have inspired and motivated the group to get behind the challenge and run with it! Their enthusiasm is the key – they are talking more to the children about what they are reading and how they are doing in the challenge, its lovely to see. The range of events on offer is inspiring and parents are very relieved the children have fun things to do in the holidays.

More starter packs are being delivered to the library to meet the demand, they have generated!

On Yer Bike!

Two volunteers at Cheadle Library have an interesting way of delivering books out to the community to support the Home Reader Service – they get out on their bikes!! Pat Wilson and her friend Marion both deliver books to older people in the village who can no longer get into the library. They also manage to get along to Denstone too. (Pat is on the right)

So What?

The Library Service benefit from the issues from the books (usually 18 books a month) and the older people in the villages can continue to enjoy a good read and see a friendly face. It also helps keep our volunteers fit and healthy!

Glascote Community Managed Library Volunteers at Ankerside Shopping Centre

After the successful interaction they had with the public at the Amington Fete in June, Volunteers form Glascote Community Managed Library contacted Ankerside Shopping Centre in Tamworth to ask if they could have a stall in the centre to promote the library to shoppers. Volunteer Maria Bailey spoke to Centre Manager Lucy Harvey about the idea, and Lucy said that they would be delighted to provide some space for the volunteers, who were really happy when Lucy added that there would be no cost. Maria adds “I couldn’t believe it would be as easy as that”.

So What?

Five volunteers set up and ran the stall on Saturday July 22nd 2017, raising awareness about Glascote Library and letting the passing public know about all the great things that can be accessed from the library service. In total they spoke to 59 people raising the profile of the Library in doing so. Maria says “It was amazing to see the reaction from people who were quite unaware of the many events going on at our libraries. It was a really good day, with lots of interesting characters asking all sorts of questions. And, it was all actually really great fun to do”.

Case Study on Volunteering: Volunteer Sue Gething at Shenstone Library

When l filled in the form to volunteer to work in Shenstone Library l had no idea the impact it would have on my life. I had recently retired as a Primary School teacher and although enjoying retirement l was looking for other challenges. The training we were given was comprehensive and enjoyable. The full time library staff were extremely patient, helpful, informative and above all friendly!

So What?

Working with other volunteers has opened up a new world in terms of friendships, and people who have lived in the village for years l didn’t know have become good friends. I thoroughly look forward to my sessions in the library despite finding the computer quite challenging at times. Everyone who comes into the library either for the coffee shop or to borrow books remarks on the lovely atmosphere. Children are relaxed, open, talkative, and feel very comfortable within the setting. Adults come in sometimes just for a chat or to now relax and enjoy a slice of homemade cake in the fantastic coffee shop area. My experience as a library volunteer has been extremely positive. l have acquired new skills, made lots of new friends, feel l am doing something useful and definitely feel part of the Shenstone.

Members of Tamworth and Lichfield MS Society visit Shenstone Community Managed Library

Some of the members of the Tamworth and Lichfield Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society meet up on a regular basis for morning coffee or lunch. They visited the coffee shop in Shenstone Community Library for the first time on Friday July 28th, and an enjoyable, chatty time was had by all!

The Tamworth and Lichfield MS Society group has over 100 members altogether. The Lichfield support group meets from 12.30 – 2.30 on the 2nd Tuesday monthly at Holy Cross Parish Community Room, Chapel Lane, Lichfield, as well as meeting more informally for coffee and cakes at a variety of accessible venues. The Tamworth support group meets every Tuesday from 1.00 – 3.00 at Sacred Heart Church Community Room, Silver Links Road, Glascote.

Anyone wishing to attend either support group, or to help out at various events, should contact Nicola-Jayne Roe, the group coordinator: tamworthlichfield@mssociety.org.uk

So What?

When asked how they felt about the library venue, comments included ‘really buzzy’, ‘light, bright and cheerful’, ‘you feel at the centre of things’, ‘everyone was so helpful and friendly’. It will definitely be on their list of venues for future meetings!

New volunteers at Stafford Library

As well as volunteers that deliver the library service on a daily basis in our community managed libraries, there are also volunteering roles available in our county managed libraries.

Recently we held a recruitment event for volunteers for Stafford Library and this has resulted in 4 new volunteers. 2 of these volunteers will be IT Buddies, providing one to one sessions for customers who need help with computers, and 2 will help with shelving, keeping the books in order and displayed attractively.

So What?

Several recruitment events over the past few months have led to an increase in the number of volunteers at Stafford Library. We now have 5 IT Buddies, 3 volunteers supporting our events and activities and 3 people helping with shelving. Our volunteers provide valuable help to our library staff. They also benefit library customers by providing an attractively displayed library, making it easier for them to find the books they want and helping customers to develop IT skills.

Open Garden Raises Money for Rising Brook Library

On Saturday 8 July, John Lotz, a local resident opened his wonderful garden, with all the money raised for entry, the sale of refreshments and the sale of plants to go to Rising Brook Library.

Fortunately it was a gloriously sunny day and the garden was filled with many people enjoying refreshments and amazing cakes. To date £1,650 has been raised, and this figure is still rising as the plant sale is still taking place!

So What?

This event raised the profile of the library and raised valuable funds, which will help to provide children’s activities at the library, as well as equipment for the adult activities.

A Dementia Action Alliance Group is Set Up for Stafford

The Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) is a national social movement which supports and encourages local communities and organisations to take practical action to enable people to live well with dementia.

On 12 July, I attended the inaugural meeting of the Stafford Dementia Action (DAA) Alliance Group. The aim of the group is to make Stafford borough a dementia friendly area. A wide range of organisations were invited and the meeting was attended by representatives from local authority services, health providers, supermarkets, faith groups, emergency services etc.

The next steps are for our organisations to sign up to be members of the DAA and to write an action plan, with a minimum of three simple steps, which we will take to collectively make our services more dementia friendly.

So What?

As the number of people living with dementia is predicted to rise, it is important for libraries to consider how we can support people affected by dementia to continue to access our service. Being part of this group is also an opportunity to develop partnerships with other organisations and to showcase what libraries can do.

Brewood Community Library – One Year On

Brewood Community Library marked its first anniversary at the end of June and celebrated with a well- earned tea party to say ‘Thank you’ to all the volunteers for their time and commitment to delivering the service.

So What?

Brewood Community Library has a 34 strong group of volunteers, mostly delivering the daily library service with others in supporting roles. The library has successfully adhered to its opening hours throughout the year without any glitches, has maintained its contact with the regular groups previously using the library, such as the walking groups, reading groups and craft group and has even added a few more. New groups introduced have been the weekly Mindfulness and Meditation sessions, plus lots of one off events have taken place, including Children’s Craft sessions during holidays, coffee mornings and a Tolkien Exhibition and talk, which has resulted in over 700 extra visits to the library. A monthly newsletter now raises the profile in the community and with continued support from South Staffordshire & Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust and Staffordshire County Council, here’s to another successful year.

Photo shows the volunteers enjoying their lunch time tea party