East Lothian Council

Council up for two APSE awards

Published Friday 29th July 16

libraries

Council initiatives up for Public Service Excellence awards

Providing library services to meet the changing needs of customers and a memory group for men over 65 are two East Lothian Council initiatives that have caught the eye of judges in the 2016 APSE Awards.

The council’s Library Service and its Active Memories Group have both reached the finals of the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) Awards – which will be decided in September.

The library service has been nominated due to the efficiency, professionalism and quality of its services, including digital inclusion and staff support of all age groups to access information and services online through computer “buddying” and digital tuition.

East Lothian libraries are seen as community hubs, providing a wide range of services and activities in consultation with customers and partners.

Over the past three years, East Lothian Council Library service has undergone major transformation which has resulted in the service becoming more focused on the quality of service it provides, an increasing number of library visits, improved attendance at library book events such as Bookweek Scotland and an increasing number of people being assisted in using technology..

Training of staff has been a priority and the service has been successful in gaining funding to support a number of initiatives to support digital inclusion, assist people with sensory impairment and train staff in new technology.

The service is up for the Best Service Team – Sports, Leisure & Cultural Services Award.

Meanwhile, the Active Memories Group is a finalist in the Best Health and Wellbeing Initiative category.

The group targets men over 65 who would have no other easy recourse to social interaction and structured activities linked to their interests. Some, but not all, of them suffer from memory problems but the group is designed to support them by engaging their interest and channelling discussion. It provides them with a network and activities which seek to promote enhanced wellbeing.

The Active Memories Group meets on a weekly basis within the John Gray Centre, Haddington. It has an active membership of 16 men aged between 65 and 90. This grew from an initial group of four from a 12 week pilot to gauge interest back in 2012. To assist accessibility the council has provided a microphone and local hearing loop system which those in need can use to boost their hearing aids.

The format of the meetings replicates the structure of a football match with a first and second half lasting 45 minutes each and a half time break when the men enjoy hot drinks and a pie! The group is run by members of staff from three council departments working in collaboration, supported by volunteers.

Councillor Tim Day, council spokesperson for Community Wellbeing, said:

“I’m absolutely delighted that the Library Service and the Active Memories Group have reached this stage in these national awards. As the name suggests, the awards recognise public service excellence, and this is exactly what is being delivered here. The library service has gone through essential change and modernisation and its really down to the dedication and enthusiasm of staff that this has been so successful and provided a real benefit to our customers. And we have some wonderful testimonials to the difference that the Active Memories Group has made to the lives of its members.

Well done to all of the staff and volunteers involved for achieving this recognition and I wish them the best of luck at the awards.”

For more information on the awards, visit www.apse.org.uk

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East Lothian Council, John Muir House Brewery Park Haddington East Lothian EH41 3HA.