Second chance for community groups to secure funding to improve their local library

Applications can be made until the end of June

Bristol Libraries has launched a second round of funding to help community groups put ideas they have for their local library into action.

The Library Innovation Fund was launched in October 2019, offering just over £100,000 to be split between the city’s 27 libraries.

Up to £3,000 was made available for each library – and where the money was not fully allocated, groups connected to them now have another opportunity to apply for funding.

There is around £22,000 remaining which is now being offered to 11 libraries across the city – including Filwood, Hartcliffe and Wick Road Libraries.

The money can be used to fund one off small scale activities – or to match fund for a larger project. Bids will be accepted from community groups, local businesses and individuals.

Projects awarded funds in the first round were a mix of creative ideas and community activities.

These ranged from virtual reality (VR) sessions, well-being boxes and equipment to host film and games nights to creative writing workshops and an IT focused English language (ESOL) course for parents, with a free crèche.

Filwood Library used the fund to purchase furniture and equipment to run a number of community engagement events.

Head of libraries, Kate Murray said: “The impact of COVID-19 has shown more than ever the importance libraries have in communities across the city.

“The Innovation Fund offers the opportunity for residents and local groups to engage in innovative and creative ways to try out ideas and activities that will help build the library service of the future.

“We have been delighted with some of the projects that have been set up as a result of the first round of funding, and want to make sure all libraries can benefit from this investment. We are also looking forward to restarting projects that were paused…”

She added that they hoped the funding would “allow people to feel more connected to their local library” and help groups create something that would “benefit the whole community”.

“We would encourage anyone with an idea to get involved and help to shape the local library service for their community.”

Friends’ Groups

There are now Friends’ Groups at 19 of Bristol’s libraries, with money from the Innovation Fund helping to set up further groups during the last year.

Where there are no existing Friends’ Groups, the library service is actively working with local residents to support them to bring ideas forward.

Each Friends Group is able to apply for £1,000 from the fund. So far nine groups have been awarded more than £5,000.

Applications for the main Innovation Fund are now open and will run until the end of June.

Projects and ideas will be assessed by a cross council panel with final approval at the Library Ideas Project Board.

All allocated funds will need to be spent by the end of March 2022.

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