A short History of Derwent Valley BRIDGE Community Library

The following is from the Derwent Valley BRIDGE Community Library group via email.

You may wonder why BRIDGE?  It stands for Books, Resources, Information, Diversity, Groups, Education.  It sums up what we want to provide – we are more than just a library – and fits neatly with the fact that we are in close proximity to the bridge over the River Derwent between East and West Ayton.

Our catchment of the Derwent Valley comprises a large rural area bounded by the A64 and the A170 within which there are 14 village communities with a combined population of approximately 10,000. (taken from NYCC Population Estimates 2010 – Parishes)

A Steering Group was formed in September 2011 made up of 11 local residents from across the area and over the next 8 months that group was involved in complex and at times frustratingly slow negotiations to take over the running of the Community Library after it closed on 31.3.13.

It is important though to say a bit about our relationship with NYCC.

  • They provide the building rent free on the basis of a lease
  • We are part of the library system with access to all the same service that any NYCC library has
  • They provide the books

They provide us with support through a designated local staff member, telephone support during opening hours and specific support for individual issues and activities

We opened our doors on May 15th 2012 with excitement, trepidation and not a little fear!

We became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation in June 2013.  This gives us a secure legal status and opens up more opportunities for fundraising and income generation.

When we submitted our Business Plan to NYCC to become a Community Library there was no precedent to help us predict what expenditure would be required.  We anticipated that it would cost around £7,000 to run the BRIDGE.  In 2012/13 we generated income of £7,925.24 made up of £2,850 from Parish Councils; £3,029.59 raised through donations and fundraising with the balance coming from library services, grants and book sales. We have to generate an income of £8,416 to meet all our costs in 2013/14.

Derwent Valley

Six of the team showing their wares

Duke of York’s Community Initiative Award

In June this year Derwent Valley BRIDGE Community Library applied to receive an Award from the Duke of York’s Community InitiativeThe Duke of York’s Community Initiative is a Royal Award presented to community projects based in Yorkshire and is a way of recognizing excellence in voluntary work.  There were a number of criteria that we had to meet with respect to the management of our charity, the way in which we involved local people and our plans for making sure that we are sustainable into the future.  Two of the key criteria are that projects need to be owned, developed and led by the people they serve and that they should be of real value to the community, well run and an inspiration to others.

We had to complete a comprehensive application form and in August we were visited by 2 assessors.  Since then we have been waiting to hear the outcome and I am delighted to say that we are to be given an Award.  The Duke of York’s Community Initiative only operates in Yorkshire.  There are a total of 43 Award winners this year, of which 14 (including ourselves) are from North Yorkshire.

Although there is no specific funding attached to the Award there are a number of advantages including royal recognition of excellence, the use of the royal logo which enhances fund raising credibility and business management support through workshops, mentoring and networking.

There is an Award ceremony in Rotherham on October 16th [2014] and we can have 4 representatives attending that event.  We are not quite sure yet who the 4 will be – we want to make sure that all aspects of Derwent Valley BRIDGE are represented, but there are likely to be 2 from the Management Committee and 2 volunteers.

A fervent supporter of ours, councillor David Jeffels (Scarborough Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council) said:

A wonderful and well deserved achievement. I believe Derwent Valley Bridge will be the first community library nationwide to achieve the Duke of York’s accolade – it’s been justifiably hailed as an exemplar and all the signs are that its format will be replicated in the future, certainly in North Yorkshire.Thanks to everyone for all their hard work over the past two years”.

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