May 2024
Much-Loved Library to Receive Grant Funding of Nearly £400,000

09 Apr 2024

One of Redbridge's most popular libraries will benefit from a significant modernisation programme after being awarded nearly £400,000 in grant funding.

Charitable Trust ,Vision RCL, who manage the library, said they were “thrilled” and looking forward to a ‘journey of transformation’.

Following the council's successful bid, Fullwell Cross Library in Barkingside will receive £380,000 of capital investment from the Libraries Development Fund.

The £20.5 million Libraries Improvement Fund transforms public library services in England by helping them upgrade their buildings and improve their digital infrastructure, so they are better positioned to respond to changing user needs. Local authorities can bid for the money on behalf of their library services.

The funding will support essential upgrades to Fullwell Cross Library – such as vital repairs, renovations and the development of digital infrastructure – which will ensure it can continue to be an asset to the local community and improve the visitor experience.

The modernisation will create opportunities for local people to engage with innovative technologies, develop new audiences for the arts, offer affordable meeting and recreational spaces, provide an inspiring and inclusive children's library suitable for all children at various stages of childhood and develop new commercial opportunities for the library.

Mark Baigent, Corporate Director of Regeneration and Culture, said: "Libraries have always been at the heart of our communities in Redbridge, and we want to continue that legacy by offering our customers the best possible experience when they step through the doors or access services remotely.

“This funding will be vital in helping to create a more modern and flexible library at Fullwell Cross, offering a range of new activities while still respecting and celebrating the heritage of this iconic building. The investment will deliver massive improvements to Fullwell Cross Library, including new digital infrastructure, better facilities for children and adults, and improved accessibility.

"The digital upgrades will support our digital inclusion and customer experience strategy, creating a better-connected community with the relevant skills and access to benefit from digital technologies and make their lives easier.

"We look forward to seeing the new library take shape and how it will offer our visitors a far more modern, comfortable, and enriching experience."

Chair of Vision Trustees, Martin Solder, said:“Vision RCL are thrilled to embark on a journey of transformation at Fullwell Cross Library, having already delivered a number of successful library renovation projects across the borough. 

"Vision will continue to work with the Council to create an inspiring, cultural, social & educational hub for Barkingside, extending the range of services and activities that the public have come to expect from a modern library.”

Some of the improvements to be delivered at Fullwell Cross Library include:

A complete redesign of the current library layout with new furniture and fittings, mobile shelving, and furniture throughout will enable more flexibility in how the library is used at different times of the day or during the week.

A dynamic new digital makerspace called Lab FX will enable local communities to experience innovative technologies such as VR, AI, Robotics, and 3D printing. The design of LAB FX and the associated programme will be modelled on the successful Lab Central makerspace, which is based at Redbridge Central Library. Since its establishment six years ago, more than 5,000 children have participated in creative tech activities yearly.

Enchanted forest-themed children's library inspired by the nearby Hainault Forest Country Park. This section will be a magical, playful space for children of all abilities. It will include specialist SEN equipment.

Upgrades to digital equipment, providing a mix of static desktop computers and tablets, including Hublet devices that can be borrowed for home use. 

Provision to support adults and carers who look after someone with cognitive challenges. We will install a Tovertafel Table in the adult space. A Tovertafel Table challenges target groups to maintain and develop their cognitive abilities through playful, sensory games. This equipment will allow adult social care partners to bring target groups to the library.

The library halls will be fully refurbished, including new floors, decoration, and LED lighting, as well as installing kitchen facilities and sound-proof, folding walls. 

Complete refurbishment of the lending libraries, including new floors, LED lighting, electrical work, and decoration.

A dedicated gallery area to provide affordable exhibition space for emerging and established artists. 

Museum boxes will be integrated into bookshelves, displaying objects from Redbridge Museum. The displayed objects will reflect the heritage of Barkingside and surrounding areas and celebrate the history of Fullwell Cross Library and the community living nearby.

Dedicated study areas that can be expanded to accommodate more students during busy exam season. 

For more information on Fullwell Cross Library please visit the vision website.

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16 May 2024
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3 June 2024
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