£40,000 funding to help Falkirk libraries support mental health after pandemic

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Falkirk libraries have been awarded nearly £40,000 to help staff support library users’ mental health and wellbeing in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

Falkirk Community Trust warmly welcomed the cash from the Scottish Government’s covid relief fund – saying they hope it will help them harness “the therapeutic power of reading”, as part of its Libraries for Wellbeing project.

The £39,992 funding will enable the libraries to work with Falkirk’s Mental Health Association (FDAMH), training all their staff so they can better support library users with their mental health.

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In addition, the funding will help train some staff in each library to run regular fortnightly reading groups for adults.

Library book browsingLibrary book browsing
Library book browsing

The library service says it will also work with community partners to run outreach events and to identify those who would benefit from attending a supportive group in a friendly library.

A spokesperson for the Trust explained: “The past 18 months have been extremely difficult for local communities and the Libraries for Wellbeing project will allow Falkirk Community Trust to support the community to improve their mental health and wellbeing and reduce social isolation.

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“This will be achieved by running several reading sessions at which the group facilitator will read a short piece of prose or poetry, then ask the group to comments, discuss their feelings and to share any readings they may have brought along.

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The idea is to give those attending an opportunity to discuss their feelings and experiences in a safe and supportive environment, improving their wellbeing and tackling feelings of isolation.

Tanya Milligan, lead librarian for projects, said: “We are really excited to have been awarded this fund.

“This is an amazing chance to develop all our friendly, helpful staff so they are better equipped to support all our users through the power of reading.”

Ian Dickson, Chief Executive Officer, FDAMH said: “I very much look forward to seeing this exciting project come to life, with FDAMH and Falkirk Community Trust working together to deliver new wellbeing services in our community!”

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The Falkirk project is one of 23 around the country to get a share of the Scottish Government’s £1.25 million Public Library COVID Relief Fund.

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