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The Place, formerly Fallowfield Library

Fallowfield library has been handed over to the community following a three year campaign.

Locality member, Fallowfield Library & Community Resource Centre, in Manchester, has been entrusted with the lease on the library and is celebrating after a long fight to keep it open for the community.

Now alongside the library service, they’re running a café, language classes, and a knitting group amongst other activities.

Where they started

Three years ago they were told that the library, now known as The Place, would have to close down following council budget cuts in 2013.

Fallowfield Community GroupA passionate group of local volunteers came together, including residents, Friends of Fallowfield, One Manchester, and Manchester City Council. Around 100 people came to an early meeting, united by the threat to close the library. A CIO was formed to take over the lease of the building from Manchester City Council via Community Asset Transfer.

They listened to what the community wanted and wanted to participate in, working together to keep the doors open.

What the community wants

During this time they proved what a vital resource the library is, the only local community building in an area which is listed as one of the six most deprived areas in Manchester. Keeping the library open and with activities has lifted people and the area!

Alongside the library service (18 hour week), there are activities for all ages from pre-school kids to elderly people in their 80s, with a kids club, craft club, access to computers, assisted job club, and an older people’s group to reduce social isolation.

Volunteer Lil Luckham, a founding member of the Friends of Fallowfield and a trustee of the library, is very proud of what they’ve achieved, she told the Manchester Evening News:

“We sell books on a Saturday morning and offer tea and cake… it has become a regular social isolation café… Essentially the library is all about bringing people together; different ages, cultures, genders, and creeds. It’s incredible.”

What they’ve achieved

Their vision is to make The Place a vibrant hub in the heart of the community, somewhere free, relaxed, where people can meet, and kids can spend time; promoting learning, skills development, employability, culture and wellbeing.

They’ve already shown what local people can achieve together – by March 2016 The Place had generated an incredible £1,497,000 worth of Social Impact!

There’s a way to go in making the library sustainable but with such a passionate group of people involved it really could happen.

If you’re in Manchester, make sure you go round to the Place!