A LIBRARY and charity shop is one of the few in the country to be run entirely by volunteers.

Walcot Community Charity Shop and Library in Sussex Square is a lifeline to many in one of the country’s most deprived communities.

The small library was saved from being closed by the council in 2009 for being unviable by a nearby charity shop.

Four years later the community hub does a roaring trade which feeds back into the local community.

Peter Mallinson, the chairman of the Walcot Community Charity Shop, said: “We were one of the first libraries to be run entirely by volunteers. We started this four years ago not thinking that we would be so successful, it’s been a roaring success.”

The charity gives away about £6,000 every year to the local community in the form of grants and donations to individuals and developing projects, as well as offering items for sale in one of the cheapest charity shops in the town.

Peter said: “The local community do appreciate what we are doing. We’re more than just a charity shop or a library. We’re more like a community centre.

“This area is a deprived area and it needs something like this.”

The project, which has twice been crowned the Pride Of Swindon, also provides a resource area which is regularly used by residents.

Peter said: “When people go to the Job Centre they are told to go on the internet to search for work and submit their CVs. We help them with that.

“If they want to work on the computers and sit in the warm they can come along and do that.”

Over the next few years, the building in which the library is based will be flattened as part of plans to regenerate Sussex Square. But the project has already confirmed it will remain a part of the new development, which will see a slightly bigger building for the shop and library to move into.

Peter said: “It’s essential we keep this facility. The people in the community have been told that we are still going to be here, and it’s important that we are. We are a lifeline for some people.”

Visit www.vas-swindon.org.uk/directory/ view/Walcot-Community-Shop/18 or call 01793 526659.