October 31, 2020

Glos County Council updates: Libraries Opening & Mental wellbeing

More libraries in Gloucestershire will be reopening their doors to the public next week.

Fourteen libraries have reopened so far and have been met with a highly positive response from customers.

Another six libraries are now looking forward to reopening during the week commencing 14 September:

  • Cinderford Library, Monday 14 September
  • Coleford Library, Monday 14 September
  • Hesters Way Library, Friday 18 September
  • Stow-on-the-Wold Library, Friday 18 September
  • Stroud Library, Monday 14 September
  • Tewkesbury Library, Monday 14 September

Each library will have a certain amount of people allowed in at any one time depending on the size of the building. There will be hand sanitisers available and a one-way system in many libraries, but in some of the more complex buildings 2m markings will be in place instead to help people to socially distance.

New regulations mean that customers must wear face coverings inside libraries and we would kindly ask anyone with Covid-19 symptoms not to visit.

Public computers are available to book up to three days in advance on a limited basis to meet demand and hygiene requirements.

For more information on your local library, including opening times and days, visit www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/libraries-are-back

Libraries continue to offer collection services, enabling customers to request books, DVDs and other items they would like to borrow.

For a full list of libraries offering collection services and more details about our digital library service, including digital books, magazines and other resources, see:

If you haven’t yet joined your local library and would like to browse our digital catalogue and take advantage of the collection services, go to www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/libraries/join-the-library

Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member for libraries at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “We know how much people value their local library so it’s great news that more are being reopened. I’d ask customers to please be patient while visiting as it will be a different experience than before.

“It’s really important that everyone follows the social distancing measures when visiting, so we can make sure all our libraries remain safe for our staff and customers and we can continue to open more over the coming weeks.”

Mental Health wellbeing – grants available for activities

The grants, which launch on 1 October 2020, will last for three years. Each year will have a budget of £50,000, with individual funding awards of up to £5,000.

The programme is designed to support initiatives that address the things that contribute to our mental wellbeing and help improve our mental health, for example social connections and networks, employment and financial security, physical health, and access to green spaces. The programme will focus on activities that promote good mental health and wellbeing, reduce isolation, and support the prevention of suicide and self harm in those most likely to be affected.

Applications are welcome from:

  • Community or voluntary groups
  • Registered Charities
  • Community Interest Companies
  • Not for profit organisations
  • Town and Parish Councils
  • Sports groups, clubs and associations
  • Religious Groups where the application demonstrates that the project will bring wider community benefit and the primary purpose of the activity is not religious

Examples of activities might include a post-natal depression support network, peer support for parents and carers, a hidden illnesses online forum, a ‘Knit and Natter’ club, Men’s Shed (practical projects to pass on and learn new skills, and chat) and other hub activities that bring people together. The programme is particularly keen to hear about initiatives that will support groups or individuals that might be at higher risk of poor mental health. Full details, including information on how to apply, will be available on the website from 1 October 2020.

Cllr Tim Harman, Cabinet member for public health and communities, said: “Looking after our mental wellbeing is really important, particularly during this difficult time. I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to launch this new programme, which we hope will bring individuals and communities together to help improve mental wellbeing in the county.

“This World Suicide Prevention Day, I’d like to remind everyone that there is lots of help available if you, or someone you know, is struggling – please reach out for support if you need it”.

Organisations such as Samaritans (call 116 123) and Shout (text SHOUT to 85258) offer free 24/7 support to anyone in distress or struggling to cope.

There are a number of resources available for anyone wanting to learn more about suicide prevention. Examples include:

  • “Suicide – Let’s Talk”; this free online training from Zero Suicide Alliance is open to everyone and only takes 20 minutes to complete. The training will teach you how to identify when someone is having suicidal thoughts or showing suicidal behaviour, to help them speak out in a supportive way, and to feel able to point the person towards the correct services or support. Since last World Suicide Prevention Day, 1,252 people in Gloucestershire have completed the training. You can find it here.
  • “Real Talk About Suicide”; this is an interactive film from Grassroots which helps guide the viewer as they make choices to support someone with suicidal thoughts and behaviours. The aim is to increase the skills and confidence of the viewer in responding to people at risk of suicide, and to provide links to further support. You can watch the film here.
  • “Stay Alive”; free app packed with useful information and tools to help you stay safe in crisis. You can use it if you are having thoughts of suicide or if you are concerned about someone else. It includes a safety plan, customisable reasons for living and a tool that allows you to store photos and memories that are important to you. Find out more here.

You can find out more about the Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Partnership here. For a full list of mental health services available in the county, click here.

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