New library and community hub launched in Bedlington

A new community hub has launched in Bedlington following a five-month refurbishment project.

Monday, 27th June 2022, 1:47 pm

Traditional library services have been combined with signposting to resources to support residents in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

The joint venture between Northumberland Libraries and Northumberland Communities Together has seen a complete interior refurbishment of the Glebe Road facility.

Cllr Jeff Watson, cabinet member for healthy lives at Northumberland County Council, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the transformation of Bedlington Library into the new collaborative library and community hub.

Maureen Taylor, interim executive director of education at Northumberland County Council, illustrator, Liz Million and Alison Peaden, head of service for libraries with pupils from St Bede’s Catholic Primary School at the official launch of Bedlington Library and Community Hub.

“The coronavirus pandemic has impacted on everyone’s lives in different ways. People have lost their jobs, lost their confidence and in some areas, lost their sense of community through months of having to stay apart.

“The launch of a new community hub like this, which brings together the magic of the library with a comprehensive support service has the potential to help thousands of residents of all ages to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of the past two years and we’re really excited for the public to see it.”

Cllr Wendy Pattison, cabinet member for adult wellbeing, added: “The services provided by Northumberland Communities Together during the height of the pandemic were a lifeline to many individuals.

“Through the creation of safe spaces like the new hub at Bedlington, we hope to continue offering these services in a sustainable way.”

Much of the work, including painting the library’s interior, was completed by council apprentices with support from the housing and local services team, volunteers and local youth charity, Leading Link.

The hub features all the library amenities as before with the addition of more communal seating areas, craft and activity tables and a new, custom-built children’s library area.

To celebrate the culmination of the work, staff hosted a special event where school children from four local primary schools were invited to take part in a book signing with celebrated children’s book illustrator, Liz Million.

Over 100 pupils from St Bede’s, Stead Lane, Whitley Memorial and Bedlington West End Primary Schools came along to the event where they each received a free signed book, a goody bag and learned more about the upcoming Summer Reading Challenge.