Our Space builds on the success of the teenager founded book group
Our Space Community Centre and Library in Ellesmere, a community hub, managed by Bethphage is proud to be home to Shropshire Library’s first teenager founded book group. The group has attracted widespread media attention and soon, Radio Shropshire will be visiting to cover the story.
Library Manager, Sheila WIlliams explains how the group has gone from strength to strength since it was established in the summer by four teenage volunteers doing work experience in the library. The group now has 10 members and it continues to grow.
“as library volunteers, the teenagers benefit from the induction and support that Bethphage gives to all its volunteers. We focus on supporting them to be workplace ready, helping them build their customer service skills, communication, learning how to work in a team, interview practice, follow policies and procedures and workplace protocols such as being appropriately dressed for work.”
“the self-led teenage book group was always more than just a group established to encourage reading books. The focus has also been on building self-esteem and emotional wellbeing. The teenagers are a range of ages from 12 to 18 years old which makes the peer support network even more effective. Older teenagers in the group can support the younger ones with learning such as helping them with power point presentations. The group has also helped raise aspirations; one teenager delivered a presentation about completing a UCAS application and her visit to Liverpool University for their open day. This has inspired some of the younger members of the group to consider university after college .”
Sheila was delighted to share that the success of the group has reached the ears of a local author Ross McWilliam who has asked the group to review his latest book which fits with the theme of the group, emotional wellbeing.
Sheila explained, “the whole ethos about the book group is building confidence to help them deal with the difficulties life throws at them eg bullying, bereavement and social anxiety. It is not just about reading; it is so much bigger than that. We help improve self-esteem and social skills and improve coincidence to help. If you are a confident person, you can do anything.”
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