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Timberbooks donate 10,000 books to support our communities

Posted on 24 Apr 2020

Local bookshop Timberbooks is set to donate up to 10,000 books to help North Ayrshire residents keep upbeat and battle the loneliness of isolation during the coronavirus lockdown.

The independent West Kilbride bookseller has stepped up to help distribute the books via the Council’s community hub network in a bid to reach our most vulnerable residents and shielding groups as the pandemic continues.

Michèle, Timberbooks’ owner, said: “When the lockdown began, libraries and local charity shops that sell books for very little money were prevented from normal opening, so there was an opportunity to share books in different ways.

“As someone who makes their living as a bookseller, I understand that many people rely on books as a source of entertainment, now more than ever as many people face the financial difficulties of the pandemic. I wanted to do everything possible to ensure that local people could experience the benefits of reading during the challenges of life in lockdown.

“As many may also not have access to social media or digital streaming, I and my good friend and local volunteer John Purves, set up the Timberbooks donation initiative.

“This will involve donating up to 40 per cent of the stock at Timberbooks, with an anticipated total of 10,000 second-hand books being distributed to local people over 13 weeks.”

In their first two weeks in April, the dynamic duo cleaned and donated an initial total of 1568 books, 247 of which were picked up from the shop’s outdoor donation pick-up box or delivered directly to residents in West Kilbride. 1200 books were distributed to the Council’s six mainland community hubs and 121 books were delivered to residents in Arran.

Michèle added: “It has been fantastic working with the dedicated staff and volunteers at the community hubs who will be distributing our donations over the coming weeks.

“Once delivered, I hope that the books will provide a source of inspiration to beat the boredom of kids who are off school and give parents additional resources to help them with home-schooling.

“Hopefully for older people and shielding groups, our books will provide an uplifting sense of escapism, especially for those who are feeling lonely and finding it difficult during their time in lockdown.”

The Timberbooks’ donations include a mixture of books across children’s, young adult and adult genres, allowing people of all ages to safely access a variety of reading materials over the difficult months ahead.

Before distribution, all donated books are thoroughly disinfected by Timberbooks and are cleaned for a second time before being delivered to residents’ doorsteps by Council community hub staff and volunteers in each of the six North Ayrshire localities.

Additional community groups Beith Trust and the IMC Project in Saltcoats will also receive books this week to be added to their existing service of delivering groceries and prescriptions.

Since being established on March 24, the community hubs have been working tirelessly to support vulnerable residents and those in isolation with access to emergency food supplies as well as connecting with people struggling with money worries, social isolation and poor mental health.

Timberbooks has already received some fantastic feedback from residents, with kind words including, “Thank you again for the books, they’re fantastic, perfect, kids haven’t put them down” and, “I’m self-isolating and immunosuppressed. You are providing a lifeline to many people in isolation, I greatly appreciate what you’re doing.”

Councillor Louise McPhater, Cabinet Member for Communities said: “Thank you to Timberbooks for working in partnership with our community hubs to distribute their generous second-hand book donations to people who need them most in our communities.

“Providing books to families and vulnerable groups is helping us to provide a much-needed lifeline during these difficult times. By having access to inspirational books, Timberbooks is inspiring people of all ages to take care and keep their minds active and stimulated while improving mental health and well-being during lockdown.

“My extended thanks go to selfless volunteers and staff members of our community hubs who are continuing to do everything possible to provide support and a means of connection to people most in need throughout North Ayrshire.”

For public health and safety reasons, Timberbooks will not be accepting book donations at this time, however if you would like to help towards the cost of the books and cleaning materials, you can donate online here.

If you need help from your local community hub or would like to receive a Timberbooks’ donation, contact our support centre now on 01294 310 000 to find out how our community teams can help you.