Library offers everything from books to baby massage

28 September 2018 | North West England

Werrington library

After being saved by volunteers, Werrington Library is hub of the community.

Werrington Library is proof positive that when we get together to help others, it can help the whole community thrive.

Just two years ago, the library was threatened with closure.

But after a group of campaigners took over, they did much more than simply keep it open - they turned it into a vibrant hub that is at the heart of village life.

The Werrington Community Volunteers Group took over the library April 2016 and have spent the last two years transforming it into a thriving and popular resource.

As well as a traditional lending library, the building is now host to a Wellbeing Centre that provides a range of services for all ages and abilities.

A community shop on the site provides funds to help them offer everything from baby massage and youth groups to ‘knit and natter’ sessions - all for free.

Attracting more than 500 visitors a week, the library has been home to almost 900 different services in the last two years.

For residents who can’t make their own way to the library, volunteers run a mobile service too, delivering books and information to people who can’t leave their homes.

It’s been so successful, the volunteers say it’s future has been secured for at least another decade and their next planned project is a Garden Therapy Village.

As Chairman and one of the original founders, David Shaw, explains, it’s very much a team effort.

“The amount of help the group has received has been quite phenomenal. There are more than 40 companies and sponsors contributing to the project’s success in a variety of ways.

“If you include all volunteers there is a list of nearly 100 and growing. The nice part is that we have a really happy band as our recent wonderful Volunteers’ Party showed.”

The 76-year-old, who lives locally, has been involved with the project from the start and hopes they can continue to expand the range of services they offer.

“From the beginning we wanted to offer activities and services that people really wanted, to bring them to the library.

“The library was a centre, a hub for things happening in the area.

“We did things backwards in a way, offering additional services that we hoped would make people notice the lending library - that was in decline.

“Since then we’ve been able to halt the decrease in membership and keep people coming through the doors.”

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