Calne Community Hub and Library celebrates a year of success
It has been a year since the Calne Community Hub, on The Strand, officially opened, and it is a huge success, providing a thriving place for local people and community groups to meet and access services, including a library.
Calne Community Hub relocated from its former premises on the High Street to the library building, and its volunteers continue to provide valuable advice on services and local organisations, as well as a pop-up café. The hub is open on Wednesdays a day when the library was previously closed and more than 100 people are now visiting to access services, while there has been a 30% increase in the number of people volunteering and getting involved in local services and events.
Visitor numbers to the library has also increased by more than 12% compared to the previous year and use of the public computers has risen by 21% on the previous year.
The hub also benefits from a swipe card building access system, which allows access outside of library opening hours. Currently 39 local community groups and organisations regularly book the new meeting space in the hub to provide advice, support and a range of events and activities. Regular users include Citizen's Advice Wiltshire, the Job Club, Calne Gamers, the sewing club and Calne Rotary.
The access has proved to be a huge success for library users; 15,000 books have been issued during self-service sessions, and the ability to borrow/return books and use the computers outside of normal opening hours is extremely popular with busy families on the school run and people on their way to and from work.
The refurbishment included implementing new and flexible library book shelving. This can be moved to create a large community space, which has been used for a theatre production of Romeo and Juliet, history and author talks, arts sessions and the local community area board meetings.
The community hub was delivered as part of Wiltshire Council's community campus programme in Calne and the investment of £280,000 has shown how services such as the local library can be sustainable in the future, with the help of volunteers and ensuring the space is fully booked for community and business use.
John Thomson, cabinet member for communities, campuses and area boards, said: "We're really pleased at how successful the new Calne Community Hub has been in the year since it was opened.
"This is a wonderful town centre space for the community to use, and the increase in footfall over the past year proves how popular it is.
"We recognise the hard work and commitment of the staff and volunteers who have made the hub such a huge success.
"Calne is a shining example of how local people can work together to provide community space and sustainable services for the future. It has shown how modest investment can make such a positive difference, providing space and opportunities for people to come together and participate in clubs, events and activities, as well as accessing the services they need.
"As a result of the success in Calne, other community hubs have been delivered in Devizes and Malmesbury, and work is under way in Royal Wootton Bassett."
Calne has also seen investment of almost a £1 million to provide a new 3G all-weather sports pitch at Beversbrook and a new toucan crossing to improve safe access to the site as part of the community campus programme.