A woman hands a plastic bag of jigsaws and crafts - using a litter picker - to a child stood in a doorway, wearing plastic gloves

Fallowfield library brings community closer through lockdown initiative

  • A Fallowfield library has been distributing food packages and at-home activities to locals throughout lockdown
  • 'The Place at Platt Lane' has joined forces with local organisations such as Friends of Fallowfield and Manchester City Council Neighbourhood Team to carry out the initiative
  • Further plans to get community involved – including time capsule and letter writing schemes – soon to be launched

Library volunteers have been working hard to deliver emergency food parcels, toys and crafts to homes across Fallowfield as part of a collaborative lockdown initiative with local organisations.

The Place at Platt Lane‘ has been a hive of socially-distanced activity since lockdown measures were imposed in March, with a team of 30 volunteers providing food, jigsaws, colouring books, support and more to those in the community.

Two children work on a jigsaw together
The library has been providing toys and jigsaws to keep children entertained during lockdown
Photo credit: The Place at Platt Lane

The library is working with local councillors and a multitude of organisations, including: Friends of Fallowfield, Manchester City Council Neighbourhood Team, Fallowfield v Coronavirus Mutual Aid Group, Buzz Manchester Health and Wellbeing Service, One Manchester and Fallowfield Community Grocer.

‘The Place’ has also been running creative schemes such as ‘The Rainbow Project’, in which the windows of the library have been decorated with colourful drawings sent in from local children.

A girl is drawing a picture of a rainbow, celebrating the NHS
Families have been sending in colourful tributes to key workers as part of ‘The Rainbow Project’
Photo credit: The Place at Platt Lane

Stuart Lynd, a trustee at The Place said: ‘We see the library as a community hub in which many services and activities are provided. The Rainbow Project aims to encourage users to keep in touch and to show support to key workers. We have managed to fill most of the windows on the lower part of the building and are looking to complete the upstairs with the letters THANK YOU.’

‘The initiative as a whole has 100% brought the community closer together and we have recieved fantastic feedback on our various social media platforms.’

Three large windows showcase multiple drawings of rainbows, celebrating the NHS
Drawings honouring the NHS line the windows of The Place, Fallowfield
Photo credit: The Place at Platt Lane

Ali-Raza Ilyas, Councillor for Fallowfield, celebrated the initiative’s collective efforts. He said: ‘Lill Luckham, Stuart Lynd, Akhter Ali and other local volunteers, councillors and organisations have been doing absolutely vital and important work.

‘The place has been providing emergency food parcels to plug the gap in time taken for Manchester City Council food parcels to arrive. They are currently in the process of looking to provide food and activities for kids to cover the summer period, similar to their usual Read and Feed Project.

‘All in all, The Place and its volunteers are an absolute gem doing this for the community.’

A pink room is filled with tables, stacked with food and drink products
Emergency food parcels have been packaged and distributed to those self-isolating in lockdown
Photo credit: The Place at Platt Lane

Under normal circumstances, the Read and Feed Project is a library service which usually runs during Summer, whereby families can participate in fun, communal activities and receive a lunchtime meal for free.

Other lockdown projects are set to launch soon, including a letter writing scheme and the distribution of food and home-based activities for the summer period. Also, a time-capsule containing photographs, letters and memorabilia of 2020 will soon be in-the-making – due to be dug up in 2032 as the library turns 100 years old.

For more information on The Place at Platt Lane, visit www.theplacefallowfield.co.uk.

If you’d like to suggest some initiative ideas or volunteer, email [email protected].