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Case Study: Burton Latimer Community Library

About the group

Local authority to the town of Burton Latimer

What we funded and why

£30,000 was awarded through the Burton Wold Community Wind Farm Fund, to secure the future of the library. This will provide much needed funds for the payment of the loan on the property, funds to host events and services to users. The core activities will be included in the overarching approach of community development, so will be highly inclusive, particularly geared to the vulnerable and excluded members of the community. Within this approach there will be an emphasis on the promotion of social, emotional, and economic wellbeing with close links to BL Health Centre and the schools. There will be an extensive outreach programme to ensure that everyone in Burton Latimer knows that the library is owned by them, for them and the programme of activities will be delivered as a result of public discourse. We will also have a focus on environmental sustainability.

The Town Council held a series of consultation events following requests from residents, they purchased the facility in order to prevent its closure.  A vote was taken which was unanimous to retain the facility for residents. Since opening the library receives a daily high footfall, this includes all age ranges from the community, the ramblers have a regular meeting point each week, the children from local schools visit regularly, the library is always well attended each day, resulting in the need for more volunteers to become available to the service. The facility also offers home delivery service to members of the community who are unable to visit in person.

The residents of Burton Latimer would not have a facility to offer the services the community needs, this puts a strain on the local NHS and County Council who are unable to offer these services at present due to huge waiting lists and cuts to services. The Library offers a large host of resources for those able-bodied and not, the mentally impaired, children, elderly and the general community. The nearest library is Kettering and many residents are unable to go to that facility, many services have been stopped at Kettering, the bus pass service has been invaluable to residents as this is one of the services that have been cut. North Northamptonshire have requested Burton Latimer to set up many services that are unavailable elsewhere, such as the cancer support groups, bus pass, disabled badges and child safeguarding events. Having the library in the town enables those who do not have access to transport to utilise this facility.

What was achieved? 

Improved access to services and support   
Number of people reporting better access to services or support 9,000


Improved community facilities  
Number of people reporting improved community facilities 9,000
Number of people reporting a sense of pride in their local area 5,000
Number of new community facilities created 5


Improved mental health and wellbeing  
Number of people reporting improved mental health or wellbeing 3,000
Number of people reporting increased resilience and/or self-care 400
Number of people reporting increased self-esteem and confidence 400
Number of people reporting a reduction of stress, anxiety and/or symptoms of depression 200


Story of change

Our statistics show an increase in footfall indicative of community members accessing services and support available through the library.  2022 Quarter’s 1&2 figures this year show a footfall of 9,771, with last year’s being 3,263. The increase is across all age groups.  We welcomed 300 new members during 2021 and to date in 2022 192.

We assisted 123 people with their Bus Pass applications and 31 people applying for their Blue Badge during 2021.  From January 2022 to date, we have assisted with 152 Bus Passes and 83 Blue Badges.  Many of these people do not have access to the internet or lack the understanding of the technology in order for them to complete the application forms needed to access these services. 

Improved Community Facilities:

Number of new community facilities:

We have created additional study spaces in the library, organised and created a better workspace to the rear of the library, including the addition of a loft space storage. We have also improved and reseeded the wildlife corridor to the front of the library.  A new noticeboard has been installed to the front space to allow those without internet to see applicable services available to them.  We have fitted a new bell to the back door to alert staff to visitors as part of our safety improvements.  The outside lighting to the front and rear porch has also been improved and fixed again in line with keeping everyone safe. The children’s library has been reorganised, the carpets cleaned and additional furniture bought. We have also increased and improved the children’s book stock.

“Wonderful initiative!  As a mother of a child with sensory issues - it’s lovely to see that the library has been thoughtful enough to provide these types of spaces for local littles.” – Dee (service user)

Number of people reporting a sense of pride in their local area:

Community members have come to support our events and have explained that having local access to various services including Citizens Advice and support and advice around Cost of Living and the current energy crisis has been exemplary.  Our Town Council have a huge sense of pride in what we have achieved.  Deputy Mayor Cllr Steven Baynes explained “The sense of pride in the library is shared by council and community members alike.  The increased level of services offered has far exceeded our expectations.”   Community members value the library as a Hub and consistently comment with pride.

Number of people reporting improved mental health and wellbeing:

All of our volunteers (25) have commented how volunteering has improved their wellbeing.  All have supported members of the community, from our Library Outreach program that delivers books to housebound community members to volunteers who support our well-being and friendship cafés.  We also work in partnership with Mind and bereavement support Cruise who support our wellbeing café each week.  On average we see 12-15 people each week.

I retired in 2019 from a management position within a local authority.  I had worked for 37 years with children and families and felt I made a significant contribution to improve the life chances of children.  After I retired lockdown hit and I felt I no longer contributed to society in any way. Joining the library as a volunteer has had a significant impact on my life.  I feel that I am contributing to the wellbeing of the community, and this experience has improved my quality of life and wellbeing.

(Alison – Volunteer)

Number of people reporting increased resilience and/or self-care:

Our walking for Health Group has benefitted from physical wellbeing and the support of the friendship café we have set up for conversation afterwards.  Community members have said that taking advantage of this has been ‘Life changing’.  Many members have taken this increased sense of well-being and offered their support to other initiatives. 

Number of people reporting increased self-esteem and confidence:

A newly appointed member of staff came to us after completing her Princes Trust Award and subsequent work experience.  She has explained that the opportunity has given her back her confidence.  In supporting others and being challenged by the vast enquiries we see and the support she has been able to give others has improved her self-esteem.