On Wednesday 24th October, the Sheriff and Deputy Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor David Cook, visited Walbottle Campus, a large secondary school in the outer west of Newcastle upon Tyne, to declare the new school library officially open. The celebration marked the end of Project Literacy to Achieve, a 12 month fundraising campaign organised by the school charity, the Friends of Walbottle, to redevelop reading spaces at Walbottle Campus for the benefit of students throughout the school and sixth form.

The £200,000 project to transform the library was achieved with support from the Friends of Walbottle, whose fundraising successes included securing grants from the Foyle Foundation, the Ballinger Charitable Trust and Warburtons, as well as raising money from a charity ball, student fundraising activities and corporate sponsorship. School were able to commit the outstanding funding required for the redevelopment, and work began to transform the library over the 2018 summer break.

The project facilitated a full-scale redevelopment, almost doubling the size of the library and creating a modern and engaging space with upgraded IT facilities. The new library boasts a greatly expanded stock of books as well as space for individual and group study and whole class workshops.

Project Literacy to Achieve reflects Walbottle Campus’ wider commitment to develop literacy skills within all students throughout school. The school has adopted the Accelerated Reader programme which is designed to encourage and promote successful reading in students throughout school.

The grand opening of the new Library included a ceremonial cutting of the ribbon by the Sheriff and Deputy Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor David Cook, who had previously held the role of Governor at Walbottle Campus for over twenty years, three of which he held as Chair. Guests included children’s author, Dan Smith, members of the school book club, the student council, school staff as well as representatives from organisations who supported the project. Guests were invited to look around the new library, visit an exhibition prepared by the school book club and view a commemorative plaque honouring the opening of the library.

Ms K Lord, Head Teacher, said: “When children develop a love of reading, they are more likely to succeed in life after school. At Walbottle Campus, we are delighted to provide our students with a fantastic new library and superb literacy programmes to ensure that they get the best opportunities to develop their skills and reach their full potential.”

Mrs T Gray, Director of Support, said: “The Friends of Walbottle worked tirelessly to fundraise for our new library, and I am delighted that our students can now reap the benefits of this resource. We are very lucky to have an active committee of staff, students, parents and community members who dedicate time and effort to improve facilities at our school – for which we are very grateful.”