Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 12°C

ESTD 1874 Search

WIN A NEW HYUNDAI i10 - See the EADT on June 8 for full details

Bury St Edmunds: Older residents are affected by loss of mobile library service

14:00 25 January 2013

Suffolk

Suffolk's Libraries IPS' new general manager Alison Wheeler

Archant

PEOPLE who relied on a mobile library service say they have been left without a lifeline after it was axed on their estate.

shares

Alison Hempstead, a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Society, said the mobile library used to come every month to the Horringer Court estate in Bury St Edmunds, but now users had been told their stop had been cut.

Suffolk Libraries Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) took over control of Suffolk’s libraries from Suffolk County Council last August but the service is still funded by the county council.

Alison Wheeler, general manager of Suffolk Libraries IPS, said the county council had made the decision in November 2011 adding the fleet had dropped from six vehicles to three.

Miss Hempstead, 40, of Whitby Road, used the mobile library as did her mother Verna, 69.

She said it was a reason for older people to get out the house and it was a place where they could socialise, as well as a service for borrowing books.

She said one man, aged 89 and who has mobility problems, started getting ready for his trip out at 11am as he looked forward to it so much.

Miss Hempstead said: “They come down and have a chat, ‘what have you been doing this week.’ For them they cannot get to the main library [in Bury town centre] and I just feel for them.”

She said she did not think the council realised what a “valuable service” it is.

“I understand about funding and everything, but I think it’s the social aspect for these people who are very isolated, especially in the winter time when they don’t go out. They cannot afford a lot, but they know once a month there’s somewhere they can go to.”

Her mother said the mobile library was “definitely” a lifeline for elderly people.

“I’m not happy about it, I’m really not,” she said. “I cannot see it costs a tremendous amount for once a month for perhaps 20 minutes.”

Craig Dearden-Phillips, who is county councillor for the area, said the amount of money saved by axing such a service was out of proportion with the social impact it had cost.

“As councillor for the area I would be happy to pay for the library, for that thing to stop once a month, out of my locality budget. It’s an important service giving that community and people a reason to get together and help each other out.”

He said he would contact the county council about the issue.

Ms Wheeler said the county council had decided to reduce the frequency of mobile library visits and also to reduce mobile stops from communities in the town or parish boundary where there was a library building.

She said: “We as a provider are carrying it out. We as a provider are always willing to talk to the community and stakeholders about the library service and if there is an opportunity for funding it we are happy to have that dialogue.”

She added half the money for the mobile service had been taken away.

She said the At Home Library Service, which brings a library service to people’s homes, is available for anyone who is not able to get to their library. E-mail help@suffolklibraries.co.uk or call 01473 584563.

Suffolk County Council was contacted for a comment, but had not responded by the time the paper went to press.

shares

0 comments

Crowds enjoyed the scorching sunshine on the first day of the Suffolk Show 2015.
Hayden and Sienna Cawston in the beach area.

See your photos from day one of the Suffolk Show at Trinity Park today.

Harriet Gazeley tries her hand at DJ-ing in the skills discovery zone

College students have been painting nails, building stud walls and laying bricks in the learning and skills zone at the Suffolk Show.

Gas works

Concerns have been raised about the knock-on effect on traffic as a result of weeks of gas works in Clare this summer.

Police are investigating the incidents

Police are investigating a third incident of a woman in Ipswich being inappropriately touched.

Suffolk Show 2015 
Food hall

Food retailers at the Suffolk Show have insisted the county has a “growing reputation” across the country for its “exceptional” produce.

Sheep ready for judging head to the Presidents Ring

A role demonstration by a Wattisham-based Apache attack helicopter was widely praised by spectators at the Suffolk Show today.

Police have closed the road

The A120 in Wix, near Marks Tey has been closed following a serious road traffic crash.

Suffolk Constabulary launch the Special Constables on Horseback scheme at the Suffolk Show.

A police campaign to recruit horseback-mounted special constables to patrol the Suffolk countryside and combat rural crime was launched in the Grand Ring.

Terry Walden is pictured at the back of Bury Railway Station outside the building he is planning to transform into The Milkmaid Folk Music Arts Centre.

An urgent call for fundraising is being made to get a project for a folk art centre for disadvantaged and vulnerable people off the ground.

Police have had the results back

Results from toxicology testing on five suspected drugs overdoses in Bury St Edmunds have confirmed the cause of the medical conditions were caused by the high purity of the substances.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages