Harbury Village Library scoops Queen’s volunteering award

Harbury Village Library and Bilbo's CafeCommunity managed Harbury Village Library (HVL) has been handed the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services.

This is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise the outstanding work done in their own communities, and HVL is one of only five groups in Warwickshire to receive the award this year. It is the equivalent of an MBE for volunteer groups and was created to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

HVL was one of the first of Warwickshire Library and Information Services’ 13 community managed libraries when it opened in May 2012. The new addition of a cafe, Biblio’s, helps to fund the enterprise, which is seen as a thriving social hub serving the village of Harbury and its surroundings.

The chair of HVL, Sharon Hancock, said: “We are delighted that our large team of volunteers have been given national recognition for the contribution they make to the community of Harbury. We look forward to the official presentation of the award by the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire later in the year.”

Thanks to around 100 volunteers who regularly staff the issue desk, tidy the shelves, bake the cakes and serve the coffee, among other things, the library is now open five full days a week and for two hours on Saturday. The volunteers are supported by Warwickshire Library and Information Service who supply the stock and advice plus a manned helpline.

“This award for Harbury Village Library is a wonderful achievement and well deserving recognition of the, approximately 100, volunteers that keep the library and Biblio’s cafe running,” said Cllr Kam Kaur, portfolio holder for customers.

“We encourage volunteering across Warwickshire in a number of fields and It is a delight to see volunteers recognised in this fantastic way.”

The library service also has volunteers working on its rural housebound delivery service, which takes books to users who are otherwise at risk of being isolated because of where they live or medical issues they may have. In some instances these volunteers are the only people seen by these customers on a regular basis.

Cllr Kaur added: “We are constantly looking for more volunteers to join our already impressive network. Research has shown volunteering has excellent benefits for wellbeing, which I genuinely believe are felt in two ways. Not only do communities benefit, the volunteers themselves gain a lot by giving their time to help others.”

There are a range of opportunities for volunteering in Warwickshire. To find out more visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/volunteering.