By Brandon Freeman, Community Organiser
After working in the local community library over the last year – Mowbray Gardens Library, I met a few individuals and groups that needed some additional support. One of the groups that I met was the Buddies group which is an offshoot of another local successful group in the library where members meet weekly to socialise, play games and develop their confidence. Some of the members suffer from mental health issues and have additional needs so this group is a real lifeline in the community.
Rob, one of the members of the buddies group, approached me and shared some of his poetry which after chatting to him I found out it was one of his passions along with writing. Rob already is a pillar in the local community and works in the library as a volunteer helping customers around the library find the correct section, providing IT help and mainly as a point of contact discussing the current and upcoming events in the library.
Rob approached me and expressed an interest in volunteering for Rotherham Federation and starting up his very own writing and poetry group (which there aren’t many of locally). I was more than happy to help him with this as I felt the role of community leader volunteer would complement his current additional volunteer role in the library and help Rob gain confidence, develop his interpersonal skills even further, develop his management skills and help share some of his talents with others!
After working in collaboration with RMBC Libraries and Neighbourhoods we discussed the starting of the group and the library agreed not to charge for table hire for the group as they saw the benefit it would bring to it’s members, the wider community and the library itself. Additionally, the Neighbourhoods team agreed to offer support for the group where appropriate.
Rob decided on the name Mowbray Musers and helped design and promote the poster/group as part of his first task volunteering for Rotherham Federation. The group had a successful launch and runs the first and third Tuesday of every month. Members dictate what content and activities they will complete and there is tea/coffee dispensing machine in the library to fuel imaginations when needed! The group also has a multitude of prompts and literary games to break the ice with new members when needed and these were provided by Rotherham Federation. Rob continues to promote the group and has expressed an interest in future training opportunities within Rotherham Federation to develop his skills.