Library celebrates its opening chapter

The first anniversary of Derwent Valley Bridge
The first anniversary of Derwent Valley Bridge

Scarborough’s first and only community library run entirely by volunteers has celebrated its first anniversary.

Volunteers set up Derwent Valley BRIDGE Community Library and Resource Centre in the wake of the closure of Ayton Library by North Yorkshire County Council last year.

Opening of new Derwent Valley Bridge Library in Ayton..Picture Richard Ponter.122014b.

Opening of new Derwent Valley Bridge Library in Ayton..Picture Richard Ponter.122014b.

Peter Suggitt, the chairman of the steering group that runs the BRIDGE said: “We opened our doors to the public on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 with excitement, trepidation and not a little fear.

“We knew we needed about £7,000 per year to run the community library and we only had £250 in the bank when we opened and not much idea really if we could keep going.

“It’s therefore amazing to think that during the past 12 months we have generated nearly £8,000.”

Members of the steering group say volunteers are at the heart of the BRIDGE’s success.

Laurel Armitage, one of four people who organises the volunteer rotas said: “Without them there would be no Community Library and Resource Centre.

“We have 55 volunteers, 40 work in the library, six involved in maintaining and cleaning the building and garden and nine Steering Group members.

“Between them the 40 library volunteers up to March 31 have contributed a massive 3,398 hours of their time.”

The BRIDGE has developed a range of activities over the past 12 months. These include weekly stories and activities on the Magic Carpet for the under 5s, holiday activities for primary children in the school holidays, a talk by Felicity Davis based on her book Guard a Sliver Sixpence as part of the 2013 Scarborough Literature Festival Fringe and a “bun and book” night as part of World Book Night on April 23.

Mr Suggitt said the library enjoys “positive partnerships” with many organisations including the County Council which provides the building rent free and the books, Scarborough Library whose staff have provided help and support;, and local Parish Councils and Scarborough Council, which gave financial support.

Volunteers at BRIDGE have plans for the future including the provision of a range of community facilities such as meeting space for local groups, a photocopying service, and upgrading the computers. There are also plans to develop the garden as a community project, with the next big step to be a registered charitable company.

To celebrate the successes of the first year volunteers attended a meal at Walkers Restaurant in East Ayton and there was a birthday party at the BRIDGE.