Community Support Officer, Michelle Jackson, really enjoys meeting new volunteers and getting to know them as part of her role. Along with Biddulph Library staff, Michelle helped to recruit some of our younger volunteers, Samantha and Megan from the local high school. Sam says, “I have really enjoyed my time with Biddulph and particularly enjoyed finding books that are requested by borrowers and helping with the crafts needed for the Heroes and Spitfire displays.” Megan says “I enjoyed working here as I have met new people and have had the experience of working in a new place.” Everyone enjoys unwrapping a parcel, so getting the new books out ready and putting them on the shelves was also a favourite task.
Biddulph is a County Managed Library that offers a volunteering opportunity too. The staff there take great pride in teaching the volunteers the ropes and enjoy meeting the young people and seeing them flourish. Being able to help them prepare for their next stage in their careers is not only rewarding for the staff but gives the young people a great experience and an opportunity to gain key skills. We wish them well with their plans and good luck at Uni Sam!
Werrington Community Managed Library is one of a number of drop off points for the Toy Appeal organised by the Kidz2Kidz volunteers. The volunteers are actually mostly volunteers on the Library Committee too. Toys can be dropped off and the volunteers will distribute them to families suggested by Social Services, so its only really disadvantaged children that benefit from the kind gifts. The Co-op joins forces with the group every year to launch the appeal and to be a collection point in a number of areas.
The Kidz2Kidz volunteers have been delivering the toys to families in the Werrington area for 6 years now, over 850 mums have benefited and about 2,500 disadvantaged children have smiled again at Christmas. The kind customers at the CO-OP, know they are bringing a bit of happiness with their toy donation, making them feel good too. As in the past the fund will support Scotties Little Soldiers in looking after the children of the fallen in the area too.
The Werrington Community Managed Library is now a drop off point and the new venue from which the group operate, showing how involved it is in the community.
Werrington Community Managed Library are pleased to announce the launch of a new service. Tracy Humphries, a qualified Podiatrist and Chiropodist is joining the team to offer footcare sessions on alternate Fridays.
If you suffer from in growing toenails, corns and cracked feet, Tracy is there to help. She offers general nail maintenance, diabetic footcare, assessment and diagnosis of foot complaints, with prices starting from £20 for both feet.
The Werrington Community Group of Volunteers have responded to requests for a local service following their Patient Participation Group meetings. A real need was expressed and Werrington now have a local service in the community. Well done!
Volunteers at Brewood Community Managed Library have organised some useful information sessions recently, including ‘Protect yourself from Fraud’ and ‘Compare Energy Company’ sessions. Both events offered free, impartial advice, highlighting how fraudsters can operate online, by text or phone and through cash machines, giving tips to prevent becoming a victim of fraud and switching energy companies to save money.
By forging partnerships with outside organisations and playing host to this type of event, Brewood Community Managed Library is certainly at the forefront of village life, giving residents the opportunity to access important information that could prove vital. With over 10 people attending already, volunteers are looking to run similar activities again soon.
Always on the look-out for something different, volunteers at Kinver Community Library decided to harness the seasonal spirit by producing their very own Christmas cards and Kinver calendar. One of our very talented and organised volunteers pulled together some lovely scenes from around the village, including a snow covered library, and very quickly had both products ready to sell.
Volunteers are always investigating innovative and interesting ways to raise the profile of the library and also to generate funds, with the Christmas cards, in particular, selling well already.
Kinver Community Library has fantastic exhibition space and to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Armistice, volunteers asked their local community to send in poppy related contributions to collectively form a display that ran for the month of November.
Over 20 individual items were showcased in the final, very special display, including tissue paper poppies, books, photographs and newspaper cuttings. The Art Group and Photography Club also participated, highlighting a variety of local talent which created this poignant and community-driven commemoration.
The Wilnecote School has now been running Wilnecote Community Managed Library (CML) for 7 months. With around 20 library volunteers already on board, and more potential volunteers still coming forward, the library is making great strides in its early days as a CML. The volunteers have already introduced a craft group, code club and story time, and have lots of other ideas for the future. The youngest volunteer at the library is 17 and this young volunteer is a stalwart on Saturday mornings, giving some of their free time most weekends whilst still studying hard for the future at school.
Volunteering can be hugely beneficial to people of all ages and for many different reasons, but for young people it can offer really important life experience, as well as being a very valuable addition for a CV.
Community Support Officer (CSO) for South East Staffordshire Libraries Ian Burley recently met with local councillors who were interested in our Home Reader Service. The service is there to provide an ongoing library service to housebound residents through the delivery of library books by library volunteers. The councillors were very interested in the scheme and the possibility of expanding it further. Watch this space for future developments!
The Home Reader Service is a vital lifeline for many housebound people. Not only does it enable them to continue using the library service, but it also helps to tackle social isolation, which is an increasing problem in society and one in which Staffordshire County Council is at the forefront of tackling.
‘Everyone Health’ is a Midlands based company who deliver a range of health, leisure and wellbeing services. There are currently working in partnership with Staffordshire County Council to provide services for local people aged 50 plus on a range of health-related issues. Taking an integrated and holistic approach to health and social care, the aim is to change long term behavioural patterns, whether about quitting smoking, leading a more active lifestyle or a range of other areas. Staff from ‘Everyone Health’ have recently started delivering sessions at Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) managed Glascote Community Managed Library (CML), giving advice to local people and referring them on where appropriate.
The Heath Agenda is increasingly important in the modern world. The involvement of ‘Everyone Health’ at Glascote CML, working in partnership with Staffordshire County Council, is helping to embed the library as a vital community hub for local people, showcasing the library not just as a place from where books can be borrowed, but as a vital local resource which can help residents with a huge range of issues.
Part of the role of a Library Community Support Officer is to make and develop partnerships with other groups, to work together on projects that will benefit both organisations.
This month, myself, and the Library Operational Manager for the Stafford Cluster of libraries, met with library staff from the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT), to give them a tour of Stafford Library, and explain the range of activities and services we provide from there, as well as to talk about our community managed libraries and what they offer.
This was a great opportunity to promote our public library services, so that the MPFT library staff can promote them to their library staff and customers. We hope that this will progress into working together on future projects that are of mutual benefit to the customers of both organisations.