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Housebound Residents Applaud Library Service

Disabled residents who benefit from the Council’s Housebound Library Service are applauding the first-class service to their door.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council offers a service where a variety of books, including large print and audio books along with CD’s can be delivered to residents who are unable to get to their local branch or mobile library because of illness or disability.

If users are blind or visually impaired and have no access to a CD player the service will even loan them one.

The service regularly visits those in sheltered accommodation across the whole of the County Borough including friends Denise Thorne and John Mann.

And together they are quick to agree that this excellent Library Service is second to none and they both look forward to the visits of their friendly librarian.

Housebound Library Service librarian Kevin Payne brightens the lives of the many people he visits week-in, week-out through the dozens of communities in the County Borough.

For John and Denise the visits are a “tonic” where they enjoy the cheerful chatter and the opportunity to choose the next novel or audio book to entertain them.

“Before I moved into sheltered accommodation, I lived alone in Treorchy and after I suffered a stroke, Kevin was one of the few people I saw and I always looked forward to those visits. I’m sure I speak on behalf of a lot of users when I say he is absolutely wonderful,” explained Denise, better known as Dee.

Now the 59-year-old lives in Ty Ddewi sheltered accommodation in Ton Pentre and still uses the Library Service. “We always have a great selection of books to choose from and I usually borrow six or seven audio books a month which I find really entertaining.

“After being amongst people during the day you can feel lonely alone in your flat in the evening and I find them a great source of comfort and delight,” she added.

But it doesn’t mean Dee listens to romantic or comedy tales after dark. “Far from it,” she laughed. “I’m a murder mystery type. Give me blood and gore every time rather than the sickly love and romance!”

Close friend John Mann, who also lives in the same complex of flats and is well known in the Rhondda for his work in amateur dramatics for many years, derives a great deal of pleasure from reading.

Sadly after suffering an accident which damaged his spinal cord he could no longer visit his branch library and even the mobile library became too difficult to reach.

“Thanks to the Housebound Library Service I not only get the books delivered to my flat, but the librarian has got to know what kind of books I enjoy and brings a selection which specifically suits my tastes. This is just wonderful.

“I have a genuine interest in historical books and royalty. I am currently reading the history of Catherine the Great for instance. The visits by Kevin brighten up my day and he is a great ambassador for an excellent service which I can’t thank enough.”

Cllr Eudine Hanagan, Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong joined Cllr Mike Forey, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Services in visiting John and Dee at Ty Ddewi to talk to them about the service.

Cllr Hanagan said, “The Housebound Library Service is useful for those who are no longer able to get out and about on their own and has a positive impact on the lives of many of our residents.

“We unfortunately had to reduce the number of Council run libraries earlier this year due to the substantial budget gap we were faced with. However this decision was taken on the understanding we enhance our Mobile Library Service along with continuing our community transport scheme and our Housebound Library Service to ensure residents from across the County Borough can access facilities.

“By visiting John and Dee in particular you get a clear understanding of just how much this service means to them and many other users in Rhondda Cynon Taf.”

“A whole range of services to help and support adults with disabilities are provided by the local authority through a dedicated and widespread network.

“Such services assist people in their everyday lives and are part of the Council’s ongoing commitment to support individuals to live an independent life as much as possible.”

To find out more about the Housebound Library Service and, please contact Erika Neck on 01685 880061 or email: erika.neck@rctcbc.gov.uk and an assessment of your needs will be made.

Also don’t forget that disabled people throughout Rhondda Cynon Taf are also eligible for free transport to their local library.

The Council and community transport group TraVol offer the service in Abercynon, Tonypandy, Treorchy, Aberdare, Llantrisant and Rhydyfelin. For further information contact Erika Neck on 01685 880061.

Membership of all Rhondda Cynon Taf's libraries is free and everyone living or working within the county borough is welcome to join. For more information on Rhondda Cynon Taf Library Service, log on to www.rctcbc.gov.uk/libraries