1. Tell us what you do.
We are a group of volunteers who help to plan and stage events and activities at Thimblemill Library. Friends help in lots of different ways; leading singing or craft classes for children and families; hosting and organising film nights, putting out chairs at events, serving and selling refresh-ments, raising funds for the library and in many other ways, all to help make the library a warm and welcoming place for our local community.
2. What is your proudest achievement?
The library was recently awarded recognition as a Library of Sanctuary, the first library in the coun-try to do so, and an immense honour. This was due to the hard work of library staff and particular groups’ supporting refugees. We are proud of their work and of the part we play as Friends in making people from the many diverse communities we serve welcome at the Library.
We are very proud of our library staff and in particular our Librarian Julie McKirdy who is so central to all that the library offers, both in her working role, and as a much-loved member of the commu-nity. We were very proud to successfully nominate her for an award of the British Empire Medal (BEM).
3. What is your experience of support received from SCVO
SCVO is currently helping us to develop some of our activities and make links with other voluntary groups. They are also helping us to seek funding so that we can plan events and activities on a longer-term basis.
4. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
‘They are lovely!’ was the response from one of the Friends.
We have a very diverse community with wide ranging languages and cultures. We are very fortutnate in that many people value the library as a centre of the community and want to give their time to bringing different members of the community together.
5. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We want to continue to offer a wide range of events and activities, increasing learning opportunities for local people and keeping the library at the heart of the community.
We have a particular project we are focussing on. We have a number of film groups at the library – for children, adults, a French film group, and others. These are very popular and we would like to secure advice and funding to improve both the equipment to show films and for blackout blinds so that films can be shown throughout the year.
6. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO can help us by helping us to secure funding, introducing us to other voluntary and statutory organisations can work with and learn from; and sharing good practice from other organisations with us on 0121 429 2039 or by email at Thimblemill_library@sandwell.gov.uk
Find us on Facebook: Friends of Thimblemill Library