After the ongoing success of our community book projects, and specifically Ruthin Railway Book, we approached National Lottery Heritage Fund Wales to see whether they would be interested in funding a project about the Llangollen Railway which runs from Llangollen to the newly opened Corwen Station.
After many ideas meetings on Zoom and emails with Tom Taylor and Peter Dickinson of the Llangollen Railway trust, who also agreed to supply some match funding, we put in a funding bid and recently found out we have been successful. Book of You’s CEO, Kathy Barham, and Senior Associate, Dilwyn Jones, met Tom on Wednesday 22nd November at Llangollen Station which was also attended by Alex Elbourne, their newly appointed Interpretation Officer. It’s safe to say, both sides are really enthusiastic about this project, various ideas were shared and we will be holding a full planning meeting together in December which will also see the start of our ‘storyboard’ plan. The book itself will begin early next year.
The full books will obviously adapt and change as time goes on, but a few ideas currently ready to go are interviews with those who have worked on the railway many years ago, memories from holiday makers who travelled on it, intergenerational storytelling about the railway between older residents and schools, care home visits to gather memories of those who can’t make our public sessions, film and drone footage of the railway and trains and all rounded off with a celebration event at Llangollen Station when the book will be shown for the first time.
We are really grateful to National Lottery for the funding to make this dream a reality. This has been made possible thanks to National Lottery players.Successful Care Home Buddy Project to cover all North Wales
I’m sure by now if you follow us on social media, you will have seen evidence of our three Care Home Buddy projects that have been running this year in Denbighshire, Conwy and Pembrokeshire, with funding from Denbighshire and Conwy Age Friendly Communities and Community Foundation in Wales respectively. The feedback from residents, care home staff, families and volunteers has been extremely positive and a few months ago, we approached People’s Postcode Lottery for funding to enable us to recruit, train and retain volunteers across the whole of North Wales. And to our delight, we’ve just discovered we’ve been successful!
The idea for Care Home Buddies came about a few years ago following a community book project that was running in Llanrwst. We’d visited a particular care home there to gather memories of the town and on its completion, the staff wondered whether we’d be able to continue visiting because we were the only visitors some residents had. Over the following months, we realised this was common in nearly every care home in the country and we ran a small pilot to see whether training volunteers to simply visit for an hour once a week to befriend and chat would make a difference. Unsurprisingly it did! And it worked both ways with our volunteers getting just as much from these visits as the residents themselves. One volunteer even gets weekly help with her Welsh language learning from her resident!
Book of You Community BooksCommunity Books can be used as resources to have conversations around as they contain wonderful tales of the towns people have lived in, but no technical ability is needed for this project. Volunteers can simply turn up and chat, look at photographs, do crossword puzzles or even watch tv together. Like any friendship, there is no one way to engage and share time together.
If you live in any of the North Wales counties and would be interested in joining our band of Care Home Buddies, please get in touch with us by email at email@example.com, or phone 01492 555381 and we’d love to hear from you. We are looking for Welsh and English speaking volunteers, full training and checks will be provided, along with Tempo Time Credits as a thank you for your valuable support.
You might have noticed a lot of talk about Community Books lately. The Community Book is a relatively new branch of our work and the first two (containing community memories of Llanrwst and Rhos on Sea) were published shortly before Covid struck. Over the following two years, when we were often unable to meet face to face, Book of You held a lot of Community Book sessions online, meaning that people were able to socialise once a week from the comfort of their own home over a cup of coffee. The quality of the books was still as good.
The celebration days that are held so that participants can see their books first before publication, are still a large part of each project – and we even held a huge joint one for all the books that were published during lockdown. Some participants have gone on to create their own personal books following these sessions, and (at the editor’s discretion) new memories can be added to current community books as people suddenly remember something else they’d forgotten before.
Our ‘Classic’ app lends itself to the Community Book as it is not only multimedia but flexible, and the variety of books on our community tab reveal diverse and fascinating stories from towns to railways, different cultures and veterans.
If your town or community interest group would be interested in telling your story using our unique platform, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can explain how you can get started. In the meantime, take a look at some of our current community books here.