Garforth Library in Leeds has secured lottery funding of £1.4 million from the Big Lottery Community Library Fund, which will be used to create a “Green” Library & One Stop Centre by investing in ecologically sound technology. The funding has been secured with the help of Yorkshire Bank’s employee volunteering scheme.
The funds will be used to pay for a radical eco-makeover for the library. Solar panels will be installed to heat water and an air source heat pump to warm the building, which will be crowned with an energy-efficient “living” roof. The sedum-topped cover will help to absorb carbon dioxide and will encourage local wildlife by providing a natural habitat. Chris Goodwin, Product Operations Manager at Yorkshire Bank, assisted the bid writing team in producing a Business Plan to support the application for funding, which will now be used to improve the education resources available to the community.
The grant will also be used to completely refurbish and extend the library building, and provide a mobile library trailer that will enable library facilities to be promoted to more people across a wider area. Enhanced IT facilities will allow new learning sessions to be delivered, further strengthening the library’s capacity to provide community education.
Chris Goodwin is part of a team of 17 Yorkshire Bank employees across the region who have been mentoring local charities as part of the Bank’s overall Employee Volunteering Programme. The scheme actively encourages employees to get involved in helping their local communities.
Born and bred in South Yorkshire and now living in Kippax, Leeds, Chris has been employed at Yorkshire Bank for nearly 30 years, working on major projects such as the merger between Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale in 2005.
Chris said: “During my time at Yorkshire Bank, I have developed the knowledge required to structure and support business plans, which I was able to transfer to help Garforth Library secure the funding it needed to mature and continue to support the local community. In order to secure lottery funding, a sound business plan is essential and I was extremely pleased to be able to use the experience I gained at Yorkshire Bank to help out with that.”
Ann Day from Leeds Library and Information Service said: “The success of the bid to Big Lottery means that we can develop a state-of-the-art eco-library. As well as becoming ecologically sound with good disabled access, we will be able to offer a wider range of learning opportunities and events in consultation with local people to meet the need of the local area. We are also particularly interested in developing services to young and older people.
“The new building will enable us to offer a One Stop Centre which provides advice on matters such as housing benefits, and a branch of Leeds Credit Union. We’re really grateful for Chris’ help in making this possible.”
Yorkshire Bank currently has 600 employees volunteering across many different local initiatives, which range from assisting with audio described productions at Leeds Grand Theatre, to helping young people develop their literacy, numeracy and life skills.