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