Friday, June 21, 2024

Libraries Unlimited steps-up efforts to help customers with the cost of living

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Five Devon and Torbay libraries are opening for longer across the winter to offer people who are struggling with their heating bills a place to go. There is anecdotal evidence that people are already using libraries differently this winter, and extending opening hours in some locations during the coldest months will benefit anybody who wants to use library buildings and services.

The National Grid has awarded a £9,900 grant to Libraries Unlimited, the charity that runs the 54 libraries around Devon and Torbay. The money will mean extra staff time, heating and lighting in five libraries can be funded for between three and four more hours a week until the end of March. The funding is from the Community Matters Fund, provided by The National Grid and delivered in partnership with Localgiving.

The extra hours and libraries will be:

Torquay – open for an extra four hours on Tuesdays from December 6th. The library will close at 5pm instead of 1pm.

Torrington – open for an extra three hours on Mondays from December 12th.The library will be open 10am-1pm.

Holsworthy – open for an extra three hours on Fridays from December 9th. The library will be open 10am-1pm.

Tavistock will be open for an extra three and a half hours on Wednesdays from December 7th. The library will be open from 2pm-5.30pm.

Bovey Tracey will be open for an extra four hours on Saturdays from 3rd December. The library will be open from 1pm-5pm.

Sarah Kennedy, Library Supervisor at Torquay Library said: “As one of the libraries in Devon and Torbay benefiting from Community Matters funding, the Torquay Library team are delighted to be able to open an extra four hours every Tuesday through the winter. We know local residents will be very happy too. The library is a dedicated Warm Space and usually closes at 1pm on Tuesdays. We will be there for anyone looking for computer access, study space or simply to get out of the cold and find a welcoming space.”

The initiative is part of a wide range of extra services rolled out by libraries in Devon and Torbay this winter to help communities through the cost-of-living crisis. These include free or low-cost hot drinks in several libraries and puzzles and colouring books left out for visitors to sit and enjoy together, free WiFi and IT sessions, displays of books featuring low-cost recipes, debt and energy advice, community fridges and free warm coat rails. Sessions have been arranged with agencies and outside organisations including Library Friends Groups, Citizens Advice, local councils, the local Police Community Support Officer (PCSO), food banks, social prescribers, the Julian House charity for homeless and vulnerable people, and local supermarkets.

The Home Delivery service in Devon will also be carrying a number of special ‘warm packs’ for customers including warm blankets, thermos flasks, hand warmers, thermal hats and socks. Up to twenty-five packs will be given to isolated library customers unable to get to library buildings. These customers are visited regularly by our book delivery volunteers. The items can be requested from our volunteers during their regular book visits. To find out more about this offer and the Home Library Service contact [email protected]

Colin Bray, Service Development Manager, Health and Well Being for Libraries Unlimited, said: “We heard from one customer who had not been out of her house for over two years. She had heard about the hot drinks and decided the library would be a good place to rebuild her confidence. She thoroughly enjoyed the cup of tea and a chat with people, and felt she was getting her confidence back. Another library customer said they come in because it saves them boiling their own kettle – they don’t have a hot drink until they come into the library.”

“We hear stories like this every day. We believe we’ve rolled out a comprehensive plan that will enable anyone, in any part of Devon and Torbay, to access some kind of help from their local library that will enable them to cope better this winter.”

For more details of our Libraries for Life campaign and services go here:

If you’re visiting your local library over the festive period, please bear in mind their Christmas opening hours. Please check with your local library as some library’s hours may vary. Find your library in Devon or Torbay.

For more details of individual initiatives, please contact your local library or local library social media channels.

A network of 54 libraries in Devon and Torbay, and four Devon mobile libraries, are run by Libraries Unlimited, an independent staff and community owned charity. Join up for free by filling the online form Join the Library – Devon ( or Torbay ( Follow Libraries Unlimited on Facebook. 

For further information and full contact details please visit our web page

Boost News Desk
Boost News Desk
Robert Haylor has 14 years of web development experience, starting out as a web developer whilst still in his university dorm room at Birmingham City University. With a background and a strong interest in website design & development he is skilled in a variety of programming languages including PHP, MySQL, CSS3 and HTML5. As Managing Director of Boost Digital Media, he regularly jumps on to client projects on a daily basis as well as ensuring the company strategy is being implemented and is delivering results.

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