Space to Place: Try Something new in Garforth, Leeds

Overview of the project

Name of institution conducting the project:

Leeds City Council: Leeds Library and Information Service.

Partners include Leeds city council customer services, Area management and Youth service

URL project website

Description of site/project

Target Audience

The target audiences within the engagement plan are older people and  young people, as we have evidence of these groups in the catchments population form less active borrowers that in other similar communities. Migrant workers have also been identified as a target group as this geographical area attracts many seasonal workers to local farms and agricultural establishments. These groups of people are identified as a hard to reach group, not traditionally using local library services. It is also an opportunity to promote at home services that are provided by Leeds Library and Information service and to recruit volunteers to expand

Who was the project for and why did they need it

  • There was an opportunity to build and shape a modern vibrant creative space for all the local communities and individuals to enjoy and learn in, as well as bringing other services together under one roof.

Project start date

April 2008

End date

April 2011

How. List of key partners/funding where applicable

Outcomes: Describe the effect the project had on people

September 2009
70+ people attended the 2 drop in sessions at Garforth Library September 2008

277 comments were recorded as part of the drop sessions and focus group work

December 2008 to April 2009
120 people including school children have been recruited, participated and contributed to focus groups

June to August 2009
14 people have attended the last 2 steering group meetings

Impact: Describe the effect of the project on organizations and/or society in general

  • The creative art and filmmaking sessions have really engaged and enthused  young people, and as result 2 young people are now confidently participating in the subsequent steering group meetings
  • We have had to opportunity to work with the local historical society and their archives to look at possible digitization and widening community access to their resources, celebrating community memories
  • Steering group members and representatives will selected a proportion of the new book stock for the library when it opens so fostering a feeling of ownership


  • It is harder to engage with migrant workers than we thought even when focus group questions for their comments and suggestions of what they would like to see in the new library were translated into Polish and given to them. There has been very little response so far
  • Leeds Credit Union dropped out as a partner
  • It took much longer that we thought to get focus groups set up and running

Is there anything that helped you achieve your goal

  • Taking time to engage staff at all different levels e.g setting up a community engagement project team, ensured that all staff felt ownership and had a high level of understanding what we are setting out to achieve
  • There was a great deal of willingness in the local communities to be involved and to  contribute to the focus and steering groups, from different community and same interest groups
  • Creating a Blog spot to communicate progress has given the local community another additional channel to keep themselves informed, in addition to the more traditional displays and asking for comments from library users
  • The use of the trailer has enabled us to engage communities further afield from Garforth itself so they feel engaged in the process as well.

Will the project be continued or rolled out

  • The work to achieve the outcomes from the community engagement plan as agreed with Big Lottery will continue after the official opening of the library (possibly February 2010) until April 2011
  • Then the outreach, future community engagement and advocacy work will be continued by the librarian based at Garforth Library, and will be absorbed into the annual library planning process for the East area of the library service.

Has it lead to recognition or further opportunities

  • The Library service now regularly participates in the Garforth Arts festival as a result of promoting the the new Library and One stop centre with the trailer.
  • Recognition of local partners e.g Youth service, has enabled us to work closely with young people e.g Art workshops, which we had not done previously
  • Closer working possibilities with Lotherton hall, run by Leeds City Council heritage service are emerging especiall

Future development. How will this work be developed in the future

  • The Community Engagement plan and associated workforce activities will be used as consultation and participation model when we plan to refurbish or open new libraries in the future
  • Closer and joint working possibilities with Lotherton hall, run by Leeds City Council Heritage service are emerging especially around community history

Contact details

Fiona Titterington
Community Development Manager, East
Rothwell Library
Marsh Street
Leeds LS26 0AE
Tel 0113 2243288/89.
Email address: [email protected]