Suffolk Libraries expands Lifeline service

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A £2,500 donation from the recently created East of England Co-op Community Cares Fund has enabled Suffolk Libraries to increase the capacity of its new Lifeline service.

  • Launched at the beginning of May, the Suffolk Libraries Lifeline has made almost 5,000 calls and has been extremely well received by the community.
     
  • The Lifeline service reaches out to people who would ordinarily access library services but who at this difficult time may be socially isolated or vulnerable.
     
  • Calls are being made by library staff, providing much needed human interaction and support.
     
  • The donation is one of the first made from the East of England Co-op Community Cares Fund, created to support community groups and charities adapt, enhance and continue to provide much needed services in new and innovative ways.
     
  • Members of the East of England Co-op can continue to donate all or part of their dividend to the Community Cares Fund, which currently stands at over £300,000. To find out more, visit www.eastofengland.coop/supportingcommunities.

The donation from the East of England Co-op will enable Suffolk Libraries to purchase additional mobile phones and data, enabling further staff to be involved in the initiative and in turn, support more people in our local communities.

Bruce Leeke, Chief Executive of Suffolk Libraries said: “We’re incredibly grateful to the East of England Co-op for their donation. Many of our regular customers are feeling particularly isolated at the moment and we set up this service so we could stay in touch with them and check they’re ok. We know it’s making a huge difference to people’s lives and this funding will help us reach even more people across the county.”

The response from those receiving calls has been extremely positive. Here are some examples of the positive impact that the service has had so far:

  • “J said that the call was a lovely surprise and had made her day! She was chatty and we talked about the support she was getting. She said she was 80% ok, and this was such a wonderful thing that Suffolk Libraries were doing. She wanted another call from us as she does not speak to anyone much.”
     
  • “T was very happy to talk this morning. He lives alone so is quite lonely at the moment. Missing coming into the library which he does every day.”
     
  • “Mrs H was very pleased to chat. She was extremely thankful and asked if I would call again as she was feeling a little down today and my call had picked her spirits up.”

Niall O’Keeffe, Joint Chief Executive of the East of England Co-op, said: “Suffolk Libraries run some fantastic initiatives for our communities, some of which we have been pleased to be able to support.

“This is a brilliant example of an organisation adapting their services to meet the needs of those who are being impacted by the current situation. We know that these calls are making a positive impact and hope that the donation from our Community Cares Fund will mean further members of our community can receive a call to brighten their day.”

Alongside the Lifeline, Suffolk Libraries is also running an extensive range of online events and activities during lockdown. They also offer thousands of free titles from their extensive eLibrary services, including eBooks, eAudiobooks, music and film streaming and online newspapers and magazines.

Suffolk Libraries aims to continue the Lifeline service even after the lockdown is relaxed and libraries reopen. For more details visit www.suffolklibraries.co.uk.