A new role for the old Belle Isle library


Work in progress. Photo: Carla Yeomans
Work in progress. Photo: Carla Yeomans

BITMO, the Belle Isle Tenant Management Organisation is breathing new life into the old Belle Isle library, reinventing it as a community resource centre.

I went to meet Carla Yeomans who is running the project. The building, at Aberfield Gate, is being refurbished and now has a kitchen and toilets. There’s an IT suite and the large meeting space will have screens to create smaller spaces.

Carla explained that the IT suite will have five computers to enable local people to get onto the internet. They will be able to use Google and learn internet skills such as using e-mail and social media, as well as word processing, for example to make out a CV. The computers will be linked to printers.

I asked Carla what sort of things might go in the centre. She explained some of her ideas so far:

  • Police surgeries where you can talk to officers about such things as anti social behaviour, traffic or other probems.
  • Councillors surgeries.
  • Local meeting of various groups.
  • Advice sessions to help you eat more healthily or how to budget your finances.
  • Council meetings for advice, such as for paying council tax, paying council rent. Street cleaning, grass cutting and more.
  • More of a sporting nature, Table Tennis, Darts.

These are only suggestions, some may change. What is definite is that new ones will be added. What Carla does not want to do is to duplicate other things which already happen in the local area.

“If people have an idea, suggestion or question about the new community space that’s brilliant! ​​Get in touch with me. What happens at the centre needs to be driven by local people.”

The new kitchen. Photo: Carla Yeomans
The new kitchen. Photo: Carla Yeomans

It’s up to you, it’s your centre. Get involved and let Carla know your thoughts.

You can contact Carla Yeomans at BITMO by texting or calling 0789 127 4237, or email carla.yeomans@belleisletmo.co.uk. You can see more photos on Flickr at www.flickr.com/photos/belleisleoldlibrary

The old library will open its doors for BITMO’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday 26th September, when you will be able to have a look round and speak to Carla.

I will be following developments and report again when the opening times are finalised and the first activities announced – watch this space!




3 Replies to “A new role for the old Belle Isle library”

  1. A fantastic use of a former library space, best of luck to them. I discovered recently that LCC libraries now have a policy that they don’t display leaflets or posters for any community projects or initiatives unless they are council funded ones with their logo on them. One way to start alienating the communities around you further I guess. Goes against the grain of trying to be a community information hub. I suspect the model of use for such redundant facilities highlighted in this article might need replicating further in the near future…

    1. Thank you for your well wishes!… I’m hoping that the events, activities and sessions we have here at the old library site will be both informative and fun!

      I’ve received some brilliant suggestions, including clothes swaps baby boutiques, healthy cooking courses, exercise classes!

      I hope that residents living in and around Belle Isle will make the most of this new facility…

      … and also help us to name it!

      1. Hi Carla,
        I doubt that you’ll remember me but we were introduced at the Middleton music event when I offered my help for community projects in Middleton and Belle Isle.
        If my time or knowledge can be of any assistance then please feel free to contact me.
        Good Luck with your new role btw!

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