As part of the wider Government strategy to improve safeguarding practice across the voluntary sector in England, DCMS in partnership with Big Lottery Fund are investing a total of £1.14 million to improve access to training, support and advice.

The Safeguarding Training Fund will provide funding in two phases until 2022. For the first phase DCMS is seeking an organisation or partnership of organisations with the track record and knowledge to develop high quality resources which will be freely available to the voluntary sector to improve safeguarding practice.

This will then be followed by a second phase which will fund a small number or organisations or partnerships to share the resources developed during Phase 1 and support grassroots charities and community organisations to improve their safeguarding practice.

For details of how to apply visit: https://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/funding/programmes/safeguarding-training-fund-phase-1

Phase 1 applications are open now.  Applications invited for up to £570,000 and the submission deadline is Monday 14 January at 12.00pm.

Taken from (Office for Civil Society) OCS For Info (London and South) – December 2018

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Sharing a few updates

I hope you are all well.. Please find below a few updates:

Legislation

You can find out more about the Health Protection Regulations here: The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 (legislation.gov.uk)

Funding

We have shared some links to funding opportunities announced by the government. We hope you find them useful.

The Restart Grant supports businesses in the non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure, personal care, gym businesses and accommodation sectors with a one-off grant, to reopen safely as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Community Renewal Fund will provide £220 million additional funding to help places across the UK prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Levelling Up Fund will invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK. The £4.8 billion fund will support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets

Next Network Meeting

Our next network meeting will take place on 8th of April 2021 at 10.30am. Chaired by David Smith, with presentations from Jess Huffman of the National Rural Touring Forum and Peggy Nauman, Digital Skills Culture.

You can book a place at the meeting 8 April Network Meeting.

Thank you all and stay safe.

Roadmap out of Lockdown in England

Following the Prime Minister’s recent announcement in the House of Commons, the government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’, setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England.  The Roadmap has been informed by the latest scientific evidence and seeks a balance between our key social and economic priorities, whilst preserving the health and safety of the country.

You will see from the document it says the roadmap’s hope is for libraries to be permitted to reopen their doors in Step 2 (eg for browsing) – earliest date would be April 12. But this is based on caveats about the infection data being right to do so when the position is reviewed the week before.

Hopefully we can have discussions around this at our our next monthly Network Meeting to be held on 11th of March 2021 @ 10.30am. Our guest speaker at this meeting is Sarah Mears, Libraries Connected. The Meeting will be chaired by Richard Fowler, trustee of the Network. You can book a place at the meeting HERE.

Stay Safe.

Award Nomination plus Network Meeting taking place on 11 March 2021 @ 10.30am

Colleagues I hope you are all safe and well. We will be sending round a more detailed Newsletter in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, a few brief updates:

Do you know someone amongst our CML community who has demonstrated outstanding innovative, imaginative or impressive service over a period? If you do you may consider nominating them for an award? Read on for further information.  

“Nominating someone for an award

The Honours process provides a great opportunity to recognise outstanding individual achievements, and highlight the impressive work going on across public libraries all over the country that makes a significant positive difference to the lives of other people. 

To get an honour, people should have:

  • made a real impact in their community or workplace
  • gained the respect of their peers
  • changed things for the better
  • demonstrated innovation or entrepreneurship
  • exemplified the very best sustained and selfless voluntary service

Honours are not confined to people at senior levels, or those working nationally – nominations are especially welcome for people working at the frontline who have made a real difference locally too. And anyone (individual or organisation) can nominate someone whose work or efforts they think should be recognised in this way. 

Here’s how to nominate someone for a national honour; the Honours and Appointments Secretariat would love to hear from you. “

Network Meeting, 11 March 2021 @ 10.30am – Guest Speaker Sarah Mears, Libraries Connected

We also have a brief update about our next Network Meeting, Chaired by Richard Fowler, Community Managed Libraries Peer Network Trustee (and from the Harbury Village Library & Biblio’s Cafe) .

The meeting will take place on 11th March, our guest Speaker is Sarah Mears, Libraries Connected.

Sarah will share some thoughts on recovery/re-opening, safely restoring events and activities, and also share information about the Accreditation Framework for English Public Libraries. You can register for the Network Meeting HERE.

Thank you.

Updates from the Network

Colleagues, I hope you are all keeping well. Please see below for some updates, includes a Case Study from North Harrow Community Library. Keep safe as always.

Upcoming Event: St Helens Borough Council library Service, 27 January, 14.00 – 15.30pm

St Helens Borough Council Library Service in partnership with Arts Council England, Libraries Connected and The Audience Agency are hosting the latest in their successful Arts In Libraries Network sessions. With our attention turning towards life post-Covid, this session will focus specifically on what the library sector can do to encourage audiences to return safely to events at some point in the future. Led by freelance audience development expert – Helen Corkery who recently authored a report commissioned by St Helens Borough Council Library Service* exploring the needs of audiences in ‘The New Normal’. To find out more/book a place click HERE.

World Book Night – deadline for applications: 29 January 2021

There’s just one week left to apply to receive books to distribute on the 10th anniversary of World Book Night this year. Applications will close on Friday 29 January, so don’t miss your opportunity to get involved in the national giveaway.

In your application, select your top five choices from our fantastic list of Books to Make You Smile and say how you can reach people who don’t regularly read for pleasure or have access to books. Books will be be delivered in early April to be distributed on and around 23 April – APPLY NOW

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is north-harrow-community-library.png
A CASE STUDY FROM: North Harrow Community Library Youtube Channel

North Harrow Community Library began its YouTube channel in May 2020, after having to close for the national lockdown. The impetus was to provide patrons and even those beyond our community in Harrow with some of the enrichment and events the library usually offers. When open, NHCL provided well-attended Story and Nursery Time sessions, clubs, and author events. Another element of the library that was lost with lockdown was the ability for patrons and volunteers to chat about books and recommend different reads to one another, something we felt was really important.

Since May, we’ve filmed, edited, and uploaded a variety of videos, including retellings of folktales for children, book recommendations and interviews with award-winning authors. These online videos can be accessed by all and the YouTube channel has been great in getting word of the library out further afield. We’ve had over 2,000 views from all over the world, from America to Saudi Arabia. The online interviewing and filming aspect means that we can run interviews with authors from wherever they are virtually and volunteers can contribute to the library whilst safely at home. The YouTube channel offers more opportunities for volunteers to help out with the library even if they can’t come into the physical space for whatever reason; volunteers offered their creative, filming and editing skills, finding new ways to interact with and support the library even whilst it was closed. Creating the YouTube channel provided our patrons with content and entertainment but also offered volunteers ways of feeling useful and connected as lockdown cut off other methods of community service.

Growing our online presence through the YouTube channel and our social media platforms has arguably also had knock-on effects in increased donations and buyers on eBay for our second-hand books. We noticed donations coming in on Fridays when we uploaded videos and do feel that the community was happy to give something in return for what the library was offering, even though we were shut at the time.

Running the YouTube channel requires time, a bit of creative problem solving and volunteers with a wide variety of skills to help out. The videos require people knowing how to film, to edit, and having creative ideas they’re willing to carry out. NHCL is blessed with talented volunteers who are happy to share their talents; people answered my calls for editors and ideas for videos with enthusiasm. Equally, authors were happy to get involved after being approached through email or social media. All of this wouldn’t have been possible without our strong family of volunteers.

Overall, the YouTube channel has meant that our patrons aren’t neglected during lockdown and that we remain a constant presence in their day-to-day lives, albeit virtually. It offers opportunities for our volunteers and has brought in tangible financial benefits as well, in the form of donations. A library can mean so much to so many different people in different ways, and we’re proud to have done our best for our patrons even during an incredibly difficult and topsy-turvy year.

North Harrow Community Library began its YouTube channel in May 2020, after having to close for the national lockdown. The impetus behind the channel was to provide patrons and even those beyond our community in Harrow with some of the enrichment and events the library usually offers. When open, NHCL provided well-attended Story and Nursery Time sessions, clubs, and author events. Another element of the library that was lost with lockdown was the ability for patrons and volunteers to chat about books and recommend different reads to one another, something we felt was really important.

Since May, we’ve filmed, edited, and uploaded a variety of videos, including retellings of folktales for children, book recommendations and interviews with award-winning authors. These online videos can be accessed by all and the YouTube channel has been great in getting word of the library out further afield. https://youtube.com/channel/UCuDm3M8bjQinUAm_8OEf76w

We’ve had over 2,000 views from all over the world, from America to Saudi Arabia. The online interviewing and filming aspect means that we can run interviews with authors from wherever they are virtually and volunteers can contribute to the library whilst safely at home. The YouTube channel offers more opportunities for volunteers to help out with the library even if they can’t come into the physical space for whatever reason; volunteers offered their creative, filming and editing skills, finding new ways to interact with and support the library even whilst it was closed. Creating the YouTube channel provided our patrons with content and entertainment but also offered volunteers ways of feeling useful and connected as lockdown cut off other methods of community service.

Growing our online presence through the YouTube channel and our social media platforms has arguably also had knock-on effects in increased donations and buyers on eBay for our second-hand books. We noticed donations coming in on Fridays when we uploaded videos and do feel that the community was happy to give something in return for what the library was offering, even though we were shut at the time.

Running the YouTube channel requires time, a bit of creative problem solving and volunteers with a wide variety of skills to help out. The videos require people knowing how to film, to edit, and having creative ideas they’re willing to carry out. NHCL is blessed with talented volunteers who are happy to share their talents; people answered my calls for editors and ideas for videos with enthusiasm. Equally, authors were happy to get involved after being approached through email or social media. All of this wouldn’t have been possible without our strong family of volunteers.

Overall, the YouTube channel has meant that our patrons aren’t neglected during lockdown and that we remain a constant presence in their day-to-day lives, albeit virtually. It offers opportunities for our volunteers and has brought in tangible financial benefits as well, in the form of donations. A library can mean so much to so many different people in different ways, and we’re proud to have done our best for our patrons even during an incredibly difficult and topsy-turvy year.

You can find our YouTube channel here: https://youtube.com/channel/UCuDm3M8bjQinUAm_8OEf76w

Ramya Jegatheesan

National Lockdown Guidance

Hope you all had a good rest during the holidays. Happy New Year.

Following the PM’s speech, national guidance was published shortly afterwards: NationalLockdownGuidance.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)

“Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services – for example for people who do not have it at home – and for click-and-collect services” Page 19.

One of the major announcements also was the closure of schools alongside a change to the shielding arrangements. Important for CMLs to note the latter in particular as this could have some implications for volunteers – particularly those considered clinically extremely vulnerable and who are advised to shield by their GPs/NHS.

Stay safe and will continue to share updates when they become available.

One more piece for Christmas!

Thank you and Seasons Greetings

Massive thanks to all CMLs for all the exceptional work you do in your communities. We also want to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support. Best wishes for a joyful holiday season and a Happy New Year to all.

Short Survey and Monthly Virtual Network Meetings – January 2021

Following on from the Lockdown 1 survey, we would be grateful if you could complete the CML Covid-19 follow up survey to help us understand the ongoing effect of the pandemic on CMLs. It should take you between 5-10 minutes to complete. The link will be live until 7th of January 2021.

Insights from the survey will inform discussions with government policy leads, we will also share outcomes at our monthly virtual network meetings which start on 7th January from 10.30am You can book a place HERE

Digital Skills for Libraries

Please read on for this interesting piece from Chris Clarke, Friends of Jesmond Library.

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity & culture. If that makes you think of Covent Garden and the Tate Gallery, you may not realise that the Council’s wide remit includes public libraries, and in particular, as part of that remit, community managed libraries!

One of the specific initiatives of the Arts Council is the establishment of the Digital Culture Network. This has really come to the fore during the COVID pandemic, not only helping arts organisations with their online marketing and communications activities, but also supporting the development of programmes of online concerts, plays, art exhibitions and staff training.

Now, in a new initiative, the Digital Culture Network has established a programme of “Digital Skills for Libraries” activities, including a series of webinars which will look at key tools and strategies to support library organisations who have taken some of their activities online or are engaging with their communities digitally whilst their buildings are closed, or access is restricted. And one lesson that many libraries have learned over the last few months is that there is likely to be a continuing demand for online activities, even when library buildings are fully open again.

All these webinars are open to volunteers at community libraries, as well as to staff in local authority libraries. And all the webinars organised so far are free, and are recorded so that all the presentations, discussion and follow up materials can be accessed after the event, through the Digital Culture Network website.

I joined the first webinar, on Creating and Delivering Digital Content, held early in December, which included useful tips on Zoom and Microsoft Teams, suggestions for extra bits of kit which might help make your online events more professional, tips on free video editing platforms, and using YouTube. It was interesting for a volunteer, such as myself, to be in a group with a wide variety of local authority librarians, particularly in the discussion, questions and answers.

There will be further free webinars specifically for libraries, in the New Year, but some community libraries may also be interested in some of the Network’s more general webinars, such as one on “How to make your content accessible” on 12 January at 2pm, or “Getting started with live streaming” on 27 January.

Much of the work of the Digital Culture Network is carried out by its network of nine Tech Champions, who each have their own areas of expertise, as well as being physically located in different bases all over England. All the Tech Champions are available to provide specialist one-to-one diagnostic conversations. The network’s website states that this is only available to people who “work for an arts and cultural organisation”, but it has been confirmed that this includes volunteers in a community managed library.

There is much more information on the website and knowledge hub www.digitalculturenetwork.org.uk . This includes information on the full events programme https://digitalculturenetwork.org.uk/events . Another useful start, accessed through the website, is to sign up for the Digital Culture Network’s newsletter.

See you all in 2021

Short Updates and Network Meetings from January 2021

We hope you are all well and safe.

Network Meetings from January 2021

From 7th January 2021 we will be hosting monthly facilitated virtual network meetings to share our experiences and learning; challenges and issues and get support from peers. There will be break-out rooms to focus on specific topics, live local or national issues. Together we hope to learn from each other, get encouragement and support from our peers.

The monthly meetings will also give us the opportunity to collate learning from CMLs to inform discussions or decisions at national level. From time to time, and based on need, speakers will be invited to join the Network meetings.

Please sign up HERE

Celebrating CMLs

Have you had any letters of appreciation  for your  work during these Covid times? Can you share any from local MPs , local councillors etc, members of the public? Particularly if they demonstrate how vital you were to their well-being/mental health. If you do, then please email info@communitylibrariesnetwork.org

Short Survey

Following on from the survey we did over the summer, we have pulled together a very short survey to assess the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on CMLs. We hope to share the information at national level. The link will be available online tomorrow and hope you will help us by completing the survey.

Libraries are vital community hubs with so much to offer

Burley Library Article

You may be interested in this article about Burley Library which was published in the People’s Friend Summer Special in June 2020.

New £4m Fund to Help Reduce Loneliness in England Opens 5 January

Funded by the Government and the National Lottery Community Fund, the new £4 million Local Connections Fund is intended for small constituted voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations with an annual income of £50,000 or less.

There will be two funding rounds, with a total of £2 million available for each round. Grants of between £300 and £2,500 are to be used to:

  • Build relationships in and across communities to help reduce loneliness and build connections between people and communities
  • Bring together organisations who are working on social connections to celebrate their work, share learning and best practice, and form/bring together peer networks.

This is to help make:

  • People and communities feel more connected.
  • Individuals feel supported and less lonely or isolated.
  • People more aware of services available that help them to connect with others and get involved.
  • Organisations learn from each other.

The grants can be used for a number of different things including staff salaries, volunteer expenses, management costs, overheads, small-scale equipment and small-scale venue improvements. Applications will be accepted from constituted VCSE organisations that serve communities within England. There will be two funding rounds, one in January 2021 and one in summer 2021.

Applications open on 5 January 2021 and close on 26 January 2021. Read on….Community groups tackling loneliness to benefit from £4m fund – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Stay safe.

Government Guidance on Local Restriction Tiers – What you need to know.

I hope you are all keeping well and safe.

A very short update this time, on the guidance for local restriction tiers. Please see link below. 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know?

Please note the early section which refers to all tiers, as follows:

In all tiers, the following businesses and venues can remain open:

  • public buildings, such as libraries, community centres and halls. They should not host events for private hire, such as birthday parties or most other social activities in tier 3

A good weekend to you all.