Charity working to reopen axed Sunderland library

Have your say

volunteers are busy turning a former library into a community hub.

Hendon Library was among nine closed by Sunderland City Council in October, but now the 106-year-old building has been taken on by charity Back on the Map.

Work is underway to reopen Hendon Library in Villette Road, Sunderland

Work is underway to reopen Hendon Library in Villette Road, Sunderland

It plans to reopen the old library and offer a host of new services.

Volunteers and workers from BT have given up their time to spruce up the Villette Road building.

Residents will also help run the venture, with help from Back on the Map workers.

Joanne Tench, of Back on the Map, said thousands of pounds had been spent on the project.

“We want it to be a welcoming place, where people will come in and meet their friends, go online to pay a bill, then maybe pop back and do an arts class and just feel comfortable to come in and use the space,” she said. “We did not want it to be a derelict, empty building.

“Hopefully, it will be more than a library.”

The building was originally paid for by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and built on land donated by the Backhouse family.

Community groups are now working together to make sure their legacy can continue.

Visitors will be greeted by planters filled with colourful Backhouse daffodils, built by members of Hendon Community Allotments and the Friends of Backhouse Park.

Graffiti artist Frank Styles has emblazoned a colourful mural on the walls of the children’s area and Sunderland Maritime Heritage has donated a former lifeboat for kids to play in.

The library is set to reopen on Monday, May 12, with an official launch planned later this month.