Libraries honoured during Volunteers Week

Grassington hub and community library has been named North Yorkshire’s library of the year.

Volunteers from Grassington hub receive their award

The community library took the title for its outstanding performance over the last year, in particular the increased visitor numbers, which were reflected in increased use of library services.

Carol Headley, a trustee of the hub, said: “A lot of our success is due to our committed volunteers and we are very proud of what they put into the organisation.

“Part of the reason we have grown is that we are doing far more than just offering library services and that has brought a lot more people into the hub over the last couple of years. Once people realise what we have to offer they keep coming back.”

The hub runs a monthly luncheon club and has recently started afternoon tea sessions. Volunteers manage the Helping Hands scheme, which arranges transport for people needing help to attend medical appointments. The hub also acts as a box office for Grassington Festival and other local events and issues parking permits on behalf of the parish council.

“We are trying new things all the time,” said Carol. “We are very aware that we have an elderly population in Grassington and the surrounding area. We are keen to reduce social isolation and improve well-being, so much of what we do is focused on that. I don’t think we would have been quite as successful without the support of our outreach librarian from the county council.”

Six other libraries were highly commended:

  • The Globe, Stokesley;
  • Helmsley community library
  • Sherburn and villages community library
  • Derwent Valley BRIDGE, West Ayton
  • Mashamshire community library
  • Norton HIVE

The awards were announced by the chair of North Yorkshire County Council, Cllr Jim Clark, during a series of events he attended to celebrate Volunteers Week.

Cllr Clark said: “I am delighted to have presented this well-deserved award to the people who have made Grassington library such a success under community management. They are a shining example of what North Yorkshire communities can achieve, as are all the community library volunteers who have maintained and enhanced such a well-loved service.

“I have been privileged during Volunteers Week to meet so many people who generously give their time and skills to support their communities in so many ways. My gratitude extends to those thousands of volunteers that I wasn’t able to meet personally this week.”

County Councillor David Jeffels, a trustee of Derwent Valley Bridge Library, added: “Community-run libraries have proved a big success story for the county, and Derwent Valley Bridge is a wonderful example of a community coming together and using its wealth of expertise to ensure this valuable asset is retained. The team running the library certainly well deserves its success and others throughout the county are to be praised for the valuable contribution they make to their communities.”

As well as meeting about 80 library volunteers at several events during Volunteers Week, Cllr Clark also met volunteers that support their communities and county council services in other ways. He sat in on school governors’ network meetings in Wykeham and Northallerton to see those volunteers at work, and attended a meeting in York of the North Yorkshire Young People’s Council, listening to the group at work and thanking them for their hard work.

He also visited the Stepping Stones garden in Skipton, which provides a service for adults with learning difficulties. He met volunteers who work alongside the service users in looking after the garden. Here, he also met volunteers from the county council’s home-composting Rotters.

Cllr Clark said: “North Yorkshire is England’s largest county, but in every part of it there are volunteers – almost 6,000 support county council services alone – who are very much part of their local communities. Community organisations, social enterprises and individual volunteers make such a valuable contribution to lives across the county and enable services to be extended in ways that would not otherwise be possible.”

At the County Council’s headquarters in Northallerton during Volunteers Week, members of staff were invited to learn more about volunteering opportunities and the support volunteers provide.

Find out about volunteering with the County Council.

This story was published 7 June 2019