Ipswich Library’s Chat n Chill project up for a national award

Suffolk Libraries' 'chat n chill' event. Picture: SUFFOLK LIBRARIES

Suffolk Libraries' 'chat n chill' event. Picture: SUFFOLK LIBRARIES - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk library has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award for a project that supports diversity and integration in the county.

Ipswich County Library’s Chat n Chill project is one of just four library services UK-wide to be shortlisted for the prestigious Libraries Change Lives Award.

The team behind the project say it is a perfect example of how libraries can work in their communities and change lives.

The Chat n’ Chill project at Ipswich County Library in Northgate Street has been running for around eight years and offers women from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to gather on a regular basis to help them integrate into the Suffolk community, improve their English and make friends.

The project has developed to include additional sessions and related opportunities for the women to learn new skills, gain confidence and take part in community activities.

Tony Brown, chairman of Suffolk Libraries, said: “We’re thrilled to be shortlisted for this award which is deserved recognition for staff at the library who have put so much effort and dedication to developing the Chat n Chill project.

“Chat n Chill is a perfect example of how libraries can change lives and become places which strengthen and support the local community.”

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The long-running award demonstrates the added value that a library service provides to its community and is awarded annually by CILIP, the library and information association, to recognise library services which represent excellence and innovation.

The winner will be announced on October 12 during the first ever Libraries Week and will receive a £4,000 investment from CILIP.

John Vincent, chairman of judges said: “Congratulations to Suffolk Library Service who have stepped in to address the gaps in their community, both to help people with less straightforward lives, and also to ensure that their population can benefit from improved wellbeing, diversity and inclusion.”

Chat n’ Chill was also shortlisted for the recent East Anglian Daily Times Business Awards under the Social Inclusion Category and is one of the many examples of the diverse range of modern library services and activities provided at the county’s libraries.

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