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Exeter Library provides support lifeline as cost of living crisis deepens

Published: 14 November 2022

Exeter Library provides support lifeline as cost of living crisis deepens ‘Libraries for Life’ campaign

Exeter Central Library is joining others around the county in offering warm and welcoming spaces along with groups, resources and facilities to help people struggling in the cost of living crisis this winter.

The new Libraries for Life campaign runs until March 2023 and highlights the numerous ways libraries offer help, mostly for free.

The campaign will cover six themes: the cost of living, loneliness and community connections, food, health and wellbeing, digital access and support, and employment, skills, and businesses.

These will be modelled under the following headings:

  • Cutting the Costs
  • Feeling Connected
  • Food and Communities
  • Health and Happiness
  • Opening the Digital Door
  • Our Work Lives

Events and facilities on offer include warm welcoming spaces throughout all libraries.

Everyone is welcome to join and spend time in the library, including use of the free WiFi and computers.

There are numerous free events and groups including bounce and rhyme for babies and toddlers, book clubs, scrabble, Lego clubs, craft sessions and many more.

During the winter months libraries will also working with partners to host sessions supporting energy efficiency, debt advice and other important topics.

A community fridge project will be held at Exeter Library, which makes surplus food available to all for free so that good food gets eaten and doesn’t go to waste. It stocks food donated by local businesses and supermarkets and is partly funded by the Community Fund.

The food is predominantly from local supermarkets and is after its ‘best before’ date which is an indication of quality – as opposed to a ‘use by’ date which relates to food safety.

These projects are volunteer run, and the availability of surplus food is unpredictable so can’t be guaranteed.

Exeter Library will also feature a coat rail, implemented in partnership with Ikea, Willmott Dixon and Julian House. Warm winter coats are donated by library users and others from the local community and can be taken by vulnerable people.

Free baby weighing facilities are available in Exeter, and at other libraries. The scheme is in partnership with Devon County Council and is designed for families or parents to use during popular bounce and rhyme sessions.

A selection of Reading Well books available in all libraries. These cover various aspects of mental and physical health, and include titles aimed at children, teens, and young adults. Digital copies of Reading Well materials are also available.

Work Clubs are also held in Exeter and at other libraries, offering one-to-one support in CV writing, developing skills and applying for jobs. There also business courses, webinars, one-to-one coaching and advice for budding entrepreneurs and local start-up businesses.

Volunteering at your local library is a great way to meet new people and support your local community this winter. We have lots of volunteering roles and opportunities – contact Exeter Library for details.

Colin Bray, Service Development Manager, who’s organised the campaign, said: “Across all our libraries there are friendly staff on hand to assist and chat to customers and new visitors. We pride ourselves on the fact our libraries are safe, accessible, and welcoming spaces for people of all ages to enjoy.”

“All signs point to this being a difficult winter for many people. There is economic hardship ahead, coming off the back of the recovery from the challenges wrought by Covid. Our customers will be dealing with an increased cost of living including heating bills, transport, and food this winter.”

Full details of events and initiatives at individual libraries are available online or by visiting your local library.

For details of cost of living support in Exeter and organisations who may be able to help, as well as details of Warm Spaces Grants, visit the City Council’s website.

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