Area's only library makes funding bid to keep running

The Rushmere pop up library will be reopen later this month

The Rushmere pop-up library will reopen in May 2021. - Credit: Simon Lee Photography

The only library in North-East Ipswich is bidding for nearly £5,000 to ensure services continue into next year.

Rushmere Library was launched in 2018 to combat the lack of facilities in the area and social isolation in a trial by Ipswich Borough Council and former county councillor for the area Sandra Gage. 

The library is commissioned by the Friends of Rushmere Library from Suffolk Libraries and operates every Wednesday from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

Friends of Rushmere Library has sought £4,995 from the borough council's North East Area committee to run until April next year. 

Sandra Gage, the group's chairwoman, said: "Without a library in northeast Ipswich, I wanted Rushmere families to have the same benefits all families have across Ipswich.

"Very quickly families regularly attended, and a steady number of customers used the library to borrow, reserve and return books.  

“The pandemic meant we had to close as everywhere did but reopening in May last year and moving to mornings saw our number of pre-school children almost double.

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"Our priorities have been to offer free pre-school education and social activity, to offer families a welcoming environment, and everyone an opportunity to call in, meet up over a coffee and cake.

"The impact of the pandemic has made our priorities even more relevant."  

 

Recent events at the Rushmere Library

Recent events at the Rushmere Library - Credit: Rushmere Library

Rushmere Library has a growing programme of events that take place within the northeast Ipswich community, including weekly coffee mornings and a parents and pre-school children's social club. 

Based in Ransomes Sports Pavilion the library operates the service with one paid staff member and one volunteer. 

Recent events at the Rushmere Library

Recent events at the Rushmere Library - Credit: Rushmere Library

Tom Veasey singing a song on his guitar for visitors at the Rushmere pop up library before the lockdown

Tom Veasey singing a song on his guitar for visitors at the Rushmere pop up library before the lockdown - Credit: Simon Lee Photography

Mrs Gage, who formed the group with three other residents, said: "Our bid to Ipswich Borough Council will keep the Wednesday library sessions going until April 2023.  

“But we want to do more, so we will also be making bids to national charities to enable us to continue beyond April next year and to expand by taking the library out into the community. We have already started.  We know there is as much need in northeast Ipswich for a library as there is anywhere else in Ipswich and we are hopeful of securing the £4995 at Thursday's committee." 

Recent events at the Rushmere Library

Recent events at the Rushmere Library - Credit: Rushmere Library

If the library does not secure its funds on Thursday's meeting, the service will be suspended at the end of July.

Bruce Leeke, CEO of Suffolk Libraries said: “We’re very hopeful of continuing the sessions at Rushmere as we know it is proving popular with many local families in this part of town.

"We’re happy to work with Sandra Gage and local people to support the Rushmere Library sessions and it’s an example of our charity stepping up and working with the community to provide something new and innovative which brings local people together.”