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New libraries Work Club launch for Refugee Week

Posted on 15 Jun 2023

Refugees arriving in Devon will be given help, support and information to get them into jobs, thanks to Libraries Unlimited.

The charity, which runs libraries in the county, is working with Devon County Council to launch a new free weekly Work Club services to mark Refugee Week (19th – 25th June).

Work Clubs already run in several libraries in Devon, and have helped hundreds of people into jobs. But now the weekly clubs at four libraries – Barnstaple, Bideford, Newton Abbot and Tiverton – will have extra help for those arriving as refugees in Devon. It’s hoped to expand the scheme to other libraries in September.

Libraries Unlimited Service Development Manager for Health and Wellbeing Colin Bray said: “Throughout the last year or so our libraries have helped many new arrivals from Ukraine with everything from Ukrainian language books to support accessing services online and connecting with their local community. It became clear as our staff built up relationships with them that helping them to find work was a priority – they want to earn money and have some semblance of normality in their lives during their stay here.”

“We are proud to be working closely with Devon County Council to be launching these library Work Clubs and supporting people into employment and training. The service includes help with CVs, interview skills, digital skills and reducing barriers to employment. Alongside Devon County Council and other partners we will be providing translated resources, access to English classes for Speakers of Other Languages and other specialist support.”

“We are proud that libraries are a sanctuary for everyone facing challenging circumstances and are keen to work in partnership with anyone hosting, working with or supporting refugees and asylum seekers in local communities. Please contact your local library for more information about what is available.”

Libraries Unlimited Work Clubs are available to everyone who joins the library. But they will now provide extra support to refugees, asylum seekers and other new arrivals including:

  • access to huge numbers of print and digital resources in many languages
  • access to translation services
  • staff on hand to advise on CV creation, job searches, applications and interview techniques
  • signposting to other services specialist support services in the community
  • advice on English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes
  • free access to computers, WiFi and support with digital skills
  • free activities for the whole family including Bounce & Rhyme sessions for young children, baby self-weigh, reading groups and lots of other social events and activities.

The Work Clubs aimed at refugees, alongside other library users, are available in the following libraries:

Barnstaple – every Tuesday 10am-1pm and every Friday 10am-1pm

Bideford – every Wednesday 10am-2pm

Newton Abbot – every Thursday 10am-1pm

Tiverton – every Tuesday 1pm-4pm every Tuesday (starting 4th July).

More library Work Clubs will be added during September. To find out more, contact Iain Harris at or the libraries involved.

Libraries Unlimited believes…

…in the unlimited potential of library services to make a positive difference to people’s lives and communities through a shared love of reading and access to high quality information and facilities.