Launch of Staffordshire Start-up Hub at Silverdale Community Managed Library

Wednesday 25th April saw Business Enterprise Support (BES) launch the Staffordshire Start-up Hub at Silverdale Community Managed Library. Information from the start up hub can be found here.

It was a really successful afternoon starting with a chance to network with the 30+ partners in attendance.

Attendees Networking before the Presentations

This was followed by presentations from

  • Andy Lee, Natwest Strategic Lead for Diversity in Business, who awarded BES with the £34,000 from Natwest Skills and Opportunities Fund to develop the Hub.
  • Chris Plant, Staffordshire Libraries Community Capacity Manager, who talked about the positive impact that Community Managed Libraries are having across Staffordshire.
  • Judith Kirkland OBE, CEO of Business Enterprise Support, who told us where BES had come from and more about the Hub.
  • Georgina Woodcock, Natwest Community Banker.

    BES Silverdale Library
    From Left to Right. Chris Plant, Judith Kirkland OBE, Georgina Woodcock, Andy Lee


Judith Kirkland OBE, CEO of BES, stated

“Inclusivity and community is at the heart of what we do. The Staffordshire Start-up Hub is open to everyone, whether you live in the borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme, City of Stoke-on-Trent or further afield across Staffordshire or the Moorlands we want to engage with as many residents as possible to offer our free programme of support. It doesn’t matter whether you’re currently unemployed, working full-time or part-time or even a local student considering being self-employed once completing your studies, we really do welcome everyone.”

Judith Kirkland OBE during her Presentation

Please follow this link for further pictures of the event 

So What?

This was an excellent event to showcase the Staffordshire Start-up Hub to a large number of partners who can then spread the word. This is a fantastic local initiative for the users of Silverdale Community Managed Library, and will also attract more members of the public into to library to take advantage of the Start-up Hub.


What’s Cooking at Talke Library?

Representatives from the Libraries and Arts Service, Support Staffordshire, Springhead Primary School and the wider community all gathered at Talke Library on Monday 23rd April for the Launch of the travelling Heritage Lottery Funded ‘Kitchen Goes to War’ exhibition.

Talke Library Staffordshire Arts
WW1 Kitchen at War Exhibition

The interactive ‘Kitchen Goes to War’ exhibition has been put together by the children of Springhead Primary School, in partnership with local artists and Staffordshire County Council’s Leisure & Culture Service. The exhibition is set to tour schools and libraries this year, will explore why rationing was introduced during the First World War, how it worked and how families on the home front were encouraged to ‘do their bit’ for the war effort. For more information and list of all future venues check out the website.

Talke Library Arts Staffordshire
Some of the Children in Attendance Investigating the Exhibition

 So What?

It was fantastic to see an Arts Project put together in partnership between Staffordshire County Council, Springhead Primary School and local artists. Exhibitions like this in libraries highlight the diverse range of services and activities that libraries now offer, and how they respond to the wants and needs of the community that surrounds them.

Place Based Approach

Last month Libraries Community Support Officer Helen Farr attended the first Place Based Approach Workshop for the Stafford area. This aims to bring organisations together to work in partnership to take a holistic approach to providing early intervention and support for children, families, young people, vulnerable people in Stafford, focusing on the root cause.

There was really good attendance from voluntary and statutory organisations from across the Stafford borough area. Several useful presentations were given discussing subjects such community engagement.

So What?

This was an excellent opportunity to be involved in a borough wide event, where I had the opportunity to highlight the work that our libraries play in their community for local people. I was also able to demonstrate how libraries can support further work in these four areas in the future, whilst also finding out about other organisations and what they provide.

Barton Community Managed Library Volunteers Win Award

On Thursday March 29th 2018 Library Community Support Officer Ian Burley accompanied 9 Library Volunteers from Barton Community Managed Library to the Volunteer Star Awards Evening organised by Support Staffordshire at the Pirelli Stadium, Burton. It was a fantastic evening which everyone in attendance enjoyed and the night was topped off when the Barton team were crowned joint winners of the Team of the Year Award in the category for volunteer teams less than 2 years old.

Ian Burley and the Volunteers from Barton Community Managed Library
Volunteers from Barton Community Managed Library

So What?

This was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the work that Library Volunteers are doing in Staffordshire’s Community Managed Libraries and to see the team at Barton recognised in this way is a testament to their fantastic efforts.

The Wilnecote School take over Wilnecote Community Managed Library

On Tuesday March 27th 2018 The Wilnecote School took over Wilnecote Library. The school has been working with Staffordshire County Council for several months to work towards the transfer and it is wonderful to see the school take over. The library already has a team of well over 20 volunteers, many of whom have been shadowing library staff for some months.

Wilnecote Community Managed Library

So What?

This is a wonderful example of partnership working, and staff from The Wilnecote School are really keen that the library becomes a true community hub engaging with local people. With Staffordshire Libraries and Arts Service working with the school to continue to offer support to the volunteers, the future looks good for Wilnecote Community Managed Library.

Shenstone Community Managed Library Cafe

Since the installation of the new café at Shenstone Community Managed Library Café in 2017, the library has continued to go from strength to strength. As a direct result of the increased visitor numbers at the library from the café, Shenstone Community Managed Library Association decided to increase the opening hours of the library, introducing Wednesday and Thursday mornings from 9am until 1pm.

Shenstone Community Managed Library Café

So What?

The installation of the café has helped the library to become a true community hub for local people. In addition to more people coming through the doors of the library, it has also allowed people to access a completely new service and has seen an increase in opening hours, thus giving the local community a greater flexibility.

Championing a Charity Coffee Morning

The fantastic array of cakes with some of the volunteers

Congratulations to the Volunteers at Brewood Community Managed Library who hosted another fantastic Coffee Morning to support the Marie Curie charity. Volunteers got busy baking and worked hard together to deliver a well-attended event all in aid of a good cause.

So What?

Following on from the success of last year’s event, the volunteers have raised the bar by collecting £345 in donations, over £60 more than the previous year and welcomed over 130 visitors, highlighting the library as a great venue for community activities.


Welcoming World Health Day at Community Managed Libraries

The Fantastic Display at Brewood

It’s great to see our Community Managed Libraries supporting national events in a variety of ways. Brewood Community Managed Library supported World Health Day by creating an excellent display of health related books while Kinver Community Library hosted a circular 9 mile walk around the local area which was led by volunteers from other libraries.

So What?

By showcasing their book stock, volunteers at Brewood are aiming to increase issues while supporting the ethos of their partner organisation South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust (SSSFT) to highlight physical activity and well-being.

The walkers enjoying a stroll to Enville Church followed by refreshments at Kinver Community Library

The Kinver walk, which started and ended in the Community Library, gave 22 people the opportunity to meet new friends, explore the surrounding area and enjoy some lovely refreshments provided by local volunteers.

The World Health Day events and display showcase the diverse offer that the CMLs are able to deliver to the communities that they serve.

Connecting Kinver Community Library

While working on a pilot project with Lucy, a colleague from Public Health at Staffordshire County Council, she mentioned she would like to promote and get feedback for a website she is involved with. I immediately invited her to attend one of our volunteer meetings at Kinver Community Managed Library where 15 volunteers got to grips with the Staffordshire Connects website. Staffordshire Connects is an easy to use directory that provides details of different care, support and well- being organisations, local activities, clubs and community groups across the county and can be found at

Kinver Library
Lucy from Public Health demonstrating the website

 So What?

Lucy brought along laptops so volunteers could get some hands on training and it was a great opportunity to show what else is going on the County, share ideas and have input into how the website could be developed.