A pioneering community-run library in Werrington, Staffordshire, has received a funding lifeline for its ambitious expansion plans.
Members of the Werrington Community Volunteers Group — who stepped in to save the village library when it was under threat of closure — are celebrating securing a £2,000 boost from local housing developer Lovell.
Pictured above are Lovell Community Liaison Officer Helen Murphy (holding cheque) with Werrington Community Volunteers Group Chairman David Shaw (holding cheque), celebrating with library volunteers, and service providers.
As well as continuing to successfully run the village library, the Group’s 50 volunteers have transformed it into Staffordshire’s first library and wellbeing centre hosting a wide range of social activities, classes, events and health and wellbeing services and a fundraising community shop.
Lovell’s donation will enable the Group to develop the premises even further by helping them to create a brand-new storage facility. The new storage building, set to be constructed behind the Ash Bank Road building, will enable even more groups and organisations to use the centre for community activities.
The centre — which attracts over 500 visits a week — is used for activities ranging from the police surgery, child health clinic, dementia support, weight management and smoking cessation groups to baby yoga, primary school reading sessions, ceramic workshops, knitting, creative writing, counselling, hairdressing, chess and a tea and coffee cafe. The volunteer team operate both the full library service and its computing and internet facilities.
“This money is something of a ‘life saver’ for us and will play a vital part in our plans to continue to expand the Library and Wellbeing Centre,” says David Shaw, the Group’s Chairman. “The new storage unit will free up a tremendous amount of space, giving us more storage and helping a range of different groups use our premises because they will have space to store their equipment. The increased storage will also free up space in the main centre building, enabling us to introduce new activities and events, including more functions.
“We’re very grateful to Lovell. What particularly impressed us was that we didn’t have to approach the company for support — having heard about the centre and its role in the community, they came to us and asked what they could do to help.”
Housing developer Lovell is currently building the successful Scholars Way housing development in Russell Grove, Werrington, creating 31 new two-, three- and four-bedroom homes for sale.
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.”