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Giving something back

Giving something back

Libraries run the Bookstart programme. Sarabjit and her children enjoyed taking part

Ealing has 88 volunteers who, together, gave around 3,000 hours of their time to our libraries last year.

The libraries team is holding three drop-in sessions in April for people who are interested in volunteering and want to find out more about what’s involved. 

Library volunteers get involved with activities such as storytelling sessions, craft sessions, club activities such as LEGO education and knitting, as well as helping to deliver the Summer Reading Challenge to children.

Free financial sessions

Nupur Ghosh is an accountant. She recently started running free Improve your Financial Fitness sessions for residents from Acton Library. People who came along learnt about creating personal budgets, managing cash flows and tips on staying financially healthy.

Nupur is running the free sessions again on Saturday, 6 and Saturday, 13 April from 10.30am-12noon, again at Acton Library. People can reserve a place online.

She said: “I have a lot of training experience in my career and I’ve always been passionate about education and learning. I wanted to get a bit more proactive in my community and use my skillset to support something in my local area.

“The first group I had was a mix of all ages and backgrounds. I was able to help them to apply some basic principles of financial management and give them some useful tools so they could make the most of their money.

“I get a buzz from doing the training and the interaction with people, but it’s also more interesting than people might first think. It’s surprising how people have bought in to it. They’ve been able to take the tools that I’ve given them and translate it to their own home life. People were really grateful.”

“I really enjoy sharing my skills”

Aruna Reddy is an artist, local resident and runs a weaving club in West Ealing library. Aruna and her weavers meet for two hours every Thursday at 10am.

She has been a weaver for 20 years and is currently showcasing her work at Stanmore Library.

She said: “I was running a workshop at Acton Community Centre when someone from the library service invited me to come along and do my weaving in the library.

“I was there for about a year on my own. I would sit and weave and people would come and chat to me. Then someone decided to join and then a few more and its slowly built up. Its grown very organically.

She said: “It’s a very friendly and welcoming group. We do more chatting than weaving sometimes!

“I really enjoy sharing my skills- it’s no good if it just stays in my head. What’s lovely is that I’m passing my knowledge on to the next generation of teachers and they are a wonderful and warm group.”

The council is currently asking local people for their views on proposals to turn Ealing libraries in to community managed libraries. If the proposal goes ahead, they will be run by local groups and supported by volunteers.

A series of public meetings are being held as part of the 12-week library consultation. Three of these are devoted to people who want to find out more about volunteering and what it entails.

“Our volunteers are their heart”

Jasbir Anand is the cabinet member for business and community services. She said: “Our libraries are important centres for the community and provide a base for many clubs, courses and activities and our volunteers are their heart.

“We are always looking for more people to come forward and help. And if the decision is made to turn some of our libraries into community managed services, we will need to have a wider conversation about other roles that volunteers could take on.”

For more information on volunteering in an Ealing library, email libraryvolunteer@ealing.gov.uk.