Community Support Officer, Helen Farr, together with representative from the Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group, County Councillor Ann Edgeller and the Dementia Outreach Manager, were invited by County Councillor Jeremy Pert to meet with Jeremy Hughes – the Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s UK Society.
The main aim of the visit was to showcase some of the work that our organisations have been involved with, in getting Stafford Borough to being Dementia Friendly as a Community. Library staff and volunteers in the Stafford Borough have received Dementia Friend’s Training to learn more about dementia and the actions they can take to help.
This was a great opportunity to celebrate success to date. The Dementia Friend’s training is really valuable in helping our staff and volunteers feel able to support library customers with dementia.
The Library bid stated, “We plan to make the children’s area of the library more child friendly and thus be able to increase the number of children benefiting socially and educationally from their local library.” Colourful furniture, new book storage, a colourful rug and a caterpillar have really brightened up the children’s library and made it much more attractive for local children!
When people need a little bit of help with technology, a few sessions with our Volunteer IT Buddies can make all the difference. One satisfied customer said:
“I would like to express my appreciation for all of the assistance I have been given to help me become more proficient with using a computer. I had a couple of sessions with the computer buddy and he was very patient and kind. I now manage to check my emails and complete work projects with ease. Prior to this I was always asking my children for help. I was never taught about computers and the internet at school. I almost consider the library my second home, I enjoy the atmosphere and camaraderie so much.”
So many services are now online that a lack of IT knowledge can affect your ability to access the services you need. Our IT buddies help to develop peoples’ confidence and competence, assist them to become more self-sufficient in their use of computers.
As part of Staffordshire County Council’s new approach to enabling the community, every member of staff is encouraged to go out into the community and use their skills to support a community project. That means there is the potential for over 3,000 people, spending a day or two-half days, actively helping to increase community capacity across Staffordshire.
Our community managed libraries (CMLs) were asked if there were any projects that they would like the Community Support Officer (CSO) Team to help with, and Brereton CML came up with a winning project to brighten up their children’s area.
The CSO Team kickstarted the decorating of the children’s library by painting a colourful background, ready for the volunteers to add designs on top in the new year.
This was a great opportunity for the CSO Team to give some time to help get a project off the ground at one of the CMLs – and it has certainly made a difference to the brightness of the children’s section! Take a look at the video for the before, during and after photos…
Both Hednesford and Baswich Community Managed Libraries (CMLs) have taken part in their local community’s Christmas celebrations.
Hednesford CML stayed open for the town’s Christmas Lights switch on Friday 6 December 2019 and held craft events in the library for adults and children. Baswich CML was one of the venues for the community Christmas Fun Day on December 14th 2019 and hosted a variety of stalls in the library. The Volunteer Coordinator was also part of the community group who helped to make the event happen.
This promotes the library and its services to local people and highlights the role it can play in the community. It increases the numbers of people using the library and brings people into the library who may not use it for its traditional services, which has the potential to demonstrate to them what libraries offer.
Social events such as these are important as they are a good opportunity for the volunteers to meet and socialise, as often they only see the volunteers who do the same session at the library as they do. It’s also good for new volunteers to meet the volunteer team.
This was a good opportunity to thank the volunteers for all the hours they have given to delivering a library service to their local community through the year. These events are a good tool for building a strong team of resilient volunteers
This is the first blog update following a very busy summer. The Team have successfully transferred a further 5 libraries to community management, which brings the total number of Community Managed Libraries in Staffordshire to 27. We’re really pleased that of the 27 Libraries moved forward into community management, all are staffed by volunteers and delivering Library services to their respective communities.
A huge ‘Thank You’ to all the partner organisations who are supporting the network of Community Managed Libraries across Staffordshire.
We have also said goodbye to one of the Team of Community Support Officers. Cathy Attwood retired in June 2019. Her workload has been divided up amongst the remaining Team.
Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Community Managed Libraries win National Award
MPFT in partnership with Staffordshire County Council have won a HSJ Award at a ceremony in London on Wednesday 7/11/19. The Community Managed Libraries project had been shortlisted in the Health and Local Government Partnership Award along with nine other nominees.
The HSJ Awards are the biggest and most prestigious awards for the NHS Sector in the Country.
This is fantastic for everyone involved in project to be recognised nationally for all the hard work that they have put in
Following the award of the contract, members of the Rotary and the Community Support Officer visited local groups and carried out promotional events to recruit volunteers. This had a fantastic response from the local community and has resulted in a strong team of 53 volunteers supporting the delivery of the library service in Eccleshall. A training programme followed, and the library opened as a community managed library on 12 August.
The Rotary group already have many ideas of how they would like to see the service develop, and what the building could be used for, and are involving the volunteers and local people in shaping these ideas.
The transfer of Eccleshall Library means that there are now 27 community libraries in Staffordshire, with 3 of those libraries being run by Rotary groups. Staffordshire Library Service is looking forward to working with the Rotary over the coming years and helping to develop the service with them for the Eccleshall community.