Wendover Community Library is to undergo a major £500k refurbishment thanks to a combination of grant funding and Buckinghamshire Council investment. The planned works will see a brand new community hub created at the library, as well as a range of internal works to improve the layout and access.
Buckinghamshire Libraries has gained £310,000 of funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) via the Arts Council England Libraries Improvement Fund (LIF). The funding will transform Wendover Community Library into an inclusive, multi-use community hub that offers a single point of contact for local services. It will provide a focal point for a range of social, educational, health and cultural activities that promote community cohesion and wellbeing.
In addition to the Arts Council England funding, Buckinghamshire Council has agreed £120,000 of investment. Together with a number of smaller grants and contributions – including from Wendover Parish Council and Wendover Community Library Trust – this brings the total value of funds for the works to around £500,000.
Planned improvement works include:
Expansion of the library and remodelling of the interior to create a new reception space, additional meeting rooms, improved kitchen and toilet facilities and access improvements.
New entrance to increase visibility with shop window for visual displays.
Redecoration of library and replacement of shelving, furniture, receptions, and fittings.
Creation of a sensory wall in children’s area and a new area for teenagers.
New self-service kiosk, loanable tablets and technology to enable out of hours access for room hire.
Commissioning of new artwork, engaging local people in developing themes, stories, and motifs for new hub.
New reception and information point designed to enable access to a broader range of local services and visitor information.
Environmental improvements will be commissioned to include low energy sensor activated light fittings, toilets with motion activated taps and flush mechanisms to restrict water usage.
Clive Harriss, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, said:
“This is fabulous news for the people of Wendover and the surrounding area. The success of the Arts Council funding bid and the investment from Buckinghamshire Council will help to create a fantastic new community facility at Wendover Library. The internal and external improvements will make what is already a well-used and much-loved facility, even more inclusive, welcoming and indispensable to the local community.
“Initial design concepts and ideas will be shared as soon as possible and there will be plenty of opportunity for local people and stakeholders to get involved in this project and to give their thoughts and opinions.”
Rob Butler, MP for Aylesbury, commented:
“I’m extremely impressed by Wendover Community Library’s plans that will make it an even more attractive and useful place for local residents. The £310,000 funded by DCMS demonstrates real confidence in Bucks Libraries’ proposals and a commitment by the Government to ensure libraries continue to be relevant to all ages and all parts of the community. The involvement of so many volunteers is testament to its importance to everyone in Wendover.”
A detailed project plan and timeline will be created with building work expected to begin in the autumn. The new Community Library Hub is expected to open in the summer of 2023.
Phil Mitchell, Chair of Wendover Community Library Trustees, said:
“This year, Wendover Community Library Trustees celebrate ten years of working with the county library service to help ensure our community has an active library. This award is much appreciated by all of us, and we will work hard to ensure the generously awarded funds are well used on behalf of everybody.”
Darren Henley, Chief Executive Officer, Arts Council England, commented:
“Our artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries are experts in making villages, towns and cities better places to live, work, visit or play. This investment means they’ll be able to help more people across England to lead happier, more creative lives.”
Wendover Community Library is a model of co-production with the council providing staff and premises management and Wendover Community Library Trust recruiting volunteers, delivering activities and fundraising.