Your local community library

AS PART of a three-month refurbishment, completed early in 2015, Sandal Library was redesigned in consultation with the Alzheimer's Society to become the district’s first – possibly the country’s first – fully dementia-friendly community library. 

The layout incorporates subtle design features which make it easier for people living with dementia to use and it includes an attractive and comfortable reminiscence lounge with sofa and armchairs. 

First known as Belle Vue and Sandal Branch Library, it was opened officially on 16 June 1951 by the then mayor, Councillor Ernest Borkwood. Wakefield Council's refurbishment project manager John Rushforth said that little now remained of the original building apart from the brick walls: “The roof leaked, there was asbestos and we had to deal with a crack in the wall.” To read more about the design of the new library, click here.

There is now a Friends of Sandal Library group which organises fundraising events and successfully sought a grant for the dementia-friendly community garden at the rear of the library. To find out more, contact the library.

In 2017 the Sandal Library team was presented with the Pride Award (pictured left) for being Wakefield Council's top team of the year


Contact details

Address: Sparable Lane (off Barnsley Road), Sandal, Wakefield WF1 5LJ
Email: sandallibrary@wakefield.gov.uk
Phone: 01924 303 355
Council webpage: Click HERE


Customer service supervisor Sharon Tepper and her team are able to offer all the usual facilities you would expect to find in a modern community library.




Here's the timetable for regular events at the library:

Active Minds, 11am-12noon
Dyslexia groups: There are now two sessions, 10am-12noon and 12.30pm-2.30pm
Spanish group, 10am-12noon
Storytime, 10.30am-11am
Story and Rhymes, 9.45am-10.15am
Coffee morning / knit and natter
Children’s crafts, 10.30am-11.30am;
Children's Lego sessions, 11am-12noon


New book designed to stir memories

COPIES of a book designed to help stir fading memories have been presented to Sandal Library, the district’s first dementia-friendly library. The 30-page A4 ring-bound book features on its front page the attractive ‘Memory Lane’ tiled artwork that is on permanent display at the library.

It contains articles by 12 members of the Agbrigg Writers group, each of whom has contributed a short piece with an appropriate photograph on the opposite page, all designed to help those who might be struggling with their memory. Subjects range from bucket and spade holidays to fairground fun.

The group’s course leader, SCA member John Clarke, said: “The Agbrigg Writers took a lot of pleasure and satisfaction from some intense sessions based on Shakespeare's The Seven Ages of Man and they were looking for a way to share some of their writing. Support from Councillor Monica Graham, a grant from Wakefield Council Community Fund and further support from Camphill Village Trust made that possible.”

Our picture shows John presenting a dozen copies of the book to the library’s customer services manager, Sharon Tepper, who said they would be a welcome addition to their resources for the library’s Active Minds sessions. With them are members of the writers' group who read extracts from the book at the presentation today. To learn more about Agbrigg Writers, go to their website at www.agbriggwriters.weebly.com


'Knit and natter' Remembrance poppies go on display

A DISPLAY of Remembrance poppies was installed at the library in November by our friends group. The poppies were made by the knit and natter ladies who meet each Friday morning and also by the local community following our appeal for help

Knitters in action - getting ready for the garden re-opening

VOLUNTEERS were busy knitting flowers and other creations which were used to highlight the 2018 re-opening of the library's Memory Lane dementia-friendly garden in May.

The library marked the occasion with tea and coffee on Friday and Saturday, May 4 and 5. The project folloeds the much admired Remembrance knitted poppy display at the library in Novembe 2017.

They were not just yarn-bombing at the library. There was also a project in hand to knit forget-me-not badges which were sold for £1 each to support Dementia Action Week, May 21-27.

When it re-opened after a lengthy refurbishment, Sandal Library was redesigned to be dementia-friendly, Since then, enthusiastic staff and volunteers have created a Memory Lane garden at the rear and sides of the library. Staff member Karen Portman is pictured (left) with the first batch of badges.


Santa sets up his grotto in library garden


THERE was a special Storytime session at the library in December. After a story had been read to them, each child visited Santa in his grotto in the library garden and was given a book about Santa arriving in Wakefield in his sleigh. These had been provided by the Friends of Sandal Library.


'Fantastic group' helps create library artwork on tiles

A STUNNING piece of artwork on tiles was officially unveiled at Sandal Library in October when the artist, Helen Thomas, was joined by some of the Active Minds group who created the colours that make it a striking representation of the library’s dementia-friendly Memory Lane community garden. Wakefield Council’s library manager Andy Wright congratulated everyone who had helped make the event such a success, including Edgeland Arts who organised the project across three of the council’s libraries. Separate artworks have now been installed at Normanton and Featherstone.

While the original tile work is on a wall inside the library, a weatherproof copy has been attached to an outside wall in the garden where that, too, has been admired by visitors. Artist Helen (on the right of our picture) said: “They’ve been a fantastic group to work with and the library staff here have been very supportive and welcoming.” Edgeland Arts were represented at the opening by Tony Wade who quickly uploaded a Facebook post of a picture of the artwork and ‘some of the amazing people that made it’. Helen had posted earlier: ‘Thanks to Edgeland Arts for engaging me in such a lovely project.’

Sandal library manager Sharon Tepper added: ‘The whole thing has been just fantastic for us and it’s been great to see how the community has got involved.’


Library defies vandals and opens dementia-friendly garden on time

ATTACKED three times by vandals, the dementia-friendly community garden at Sandal Library was officially opened on July 28 by one of its leading advocates, Coun Monica Graham. In appreciation of all her work to help make the project a success, she was presented with a specially commissioned painting, executed by another of the library’s great supporters, amateur artist and volunteer Diane Bates.

As a result of the vandalism, which devastated both staff and volunteers, the new garden – known as Memory Lane and surrounding the back and sides of the library – is now protected by higher security fencing, CCTV and security lighting.

Mrs Bates’ painting of flowers was presented to Coun Graham by library manager Sharon Tepper (pictured right), who thanked everyone who had helped with fundraising or had donated items, including garden furniture. Coun Graham said: “This garden has come about as a result of people power – people who have put their hearts and souls into this through all the difficulties. They have created a haven of peace and beauty for all visitors.”

Ms Tepper said the library had re-opened in 2015 as the first dementia-friendly library and the garden had been a development of that policy. "I have to thank Kathryn Harrison, head of libraries, for letting me spend the time on the project," she said.

The value of gardening to those suffering from dementia was explained by Dr Keith Souter, one of the Friends of Sandal Library. He pulled various items from his doctor’s bag to emphasise his point, from gloves and trowel to a broom which appeared as if by magic. Dr Souter, who is the author of a book on dementia, said that regular exercise reduces the risk of dementia by 50 per cent and gardening does the same by 35 per cent. “Gardening stimulates all the senses,” he said, “It’s wonderful for keeping people involved and engaged.”

After Coun Graham cut the tape to formally open the garden there were snacks, cakes and coffee for guests who included Wakefield Admiral Nurse Matthew Burns, whose job is to support dementia sufferers and their families.

The garden was open to the public for the first time on Saturday. Over the weekend the cakes and raffle raised £195 which will go towards the children's area. The garden can be accessed by anyone to enjoy during library opening times,

There have been plenty of supportive comments on Facebook, including this from former SCA chair, Gail Stephenson: "Congratulations and well done - fantastic idea well delivered despite the odds. So pleased for Sandal to have such dedicated visionaries."

Our second picture shows SCA committee members trying out the bench given by the Association - chairman Les Goddard (left), Monica Graham and Dr Keith Souter.


Dementia-friendly path is laid in our new community garden

AN APPEAL has gone out for volunteers, able-bodied or disabled, to help with both planting and weeding at the new community garden that is being created at the library.  First raised beds went in, now a path has been laid in a dementia-friendly colour. The path cost £1,200, which was met by the Creative Minds Project. The next step will be to lay the concrete base for the summer house.
Library manager Sharon Tepper (on the right in our main photo) was pictured, trowel in hand, starting work on one of the raised beds with one of her staff members, keen gardener Karen Portman. Making her appeal for volunteers, Sharon said that if you've green fingers and can help, call the library on 01924 303355 during normal opening hours.

Our picture on the left shows Sharon and Karen taking a breather in the new pergola that has yet to be given its permanent place.  The dementia-friendly community garden is being supported by the SCA who have published two sets of Sandal Castle greetings cards, sold in aid of the project.

Sticky fingers and lots of Christmas fun!

THERE was lots of fun and more than a few sticky fingers at the children's Christmas craft session at the library. Youngsters, helped by staff and volunteers, made crackers, cards and paper hats ready for the festivities that followed.

Christmas fair boosts Wakefield Hospice and our own community garden


PROCEEDS from the library's Christmas fair were shared between Wakefield Hospice and the community and dementia-friendly garden that is being established at the rear of the library. Our picture on the left shows staff and volunteers on the tombola and bric-a-brac stall. Refreshments (right) were served during the morning.

Library marks Dementia Week

Sandal Library marked Dementia Awareness Week in May and it gave the library’s customer service supervisor, Sharon Tepper, the chance to say how proud she is of the way she and her team have been able to help dementia sufferers with activities ranging from musical bingo to carpet bowls.

There was a week of fundraising events at the library to raise cash for the dementia and community garden that is being established at the rear of the library. Activities included a raffle, tombola, white elephant stall, book sale, craft stall and refreshments. There was a one-hour session of carpet bowls followed the next day by music bingo starting, both for anyone with dementia. There was a coffee morning and cake stall on the Friday, with a free one-hour dementia awareness course

Our picture on the left shows Sharon acting as a judge at one of the carpet bowls sessions while volunteer Denise Armstrong measures up for the winner. Our second picture shows Colin Trueman, treasurer of the Friends of Sandal Library, on the plant stall with Karen Portman.

Easter Fun Day raises £172 for dementia garden

YOUNGSTERS had a busy morning at the library in March when there was an Easter Fun Day with a competition to design an Easter egg and activities such as making your own Easter cards.

The event, organised by the Friends of Sandal Library, included a raffle, cake stall and refreshments, and raised £172 for the library's dementia garden.

In our photo on the left library volunteer Jayne Richardson is pictured with some of youngsters including nine-year-old Rosie Kelly (centre) who went on to win the 7-10 age group with her Easter egg design. The 3-6 years group was won by Zainab Khan. Our other picture shows the judges, library volunteers Paula Barker and Kathryn Golding, with library supervisor Sharon Tepper after they had made their decision.

Artist Diane's cards raise cash for dementia nurse project

ENTHUSIASTIC Sandal Art Group member Diane Bates is raising money for Dementia UK - specifically the Admiral Nurse project in Wakefield - by selling cards that reproduce many of her drawings and paintings.

The cards are on sale at £1 each, cellophane-wrapped with envelope. They can be bought at Sandal Library where Diane worked for many years before retiring and becoming a volunteer. She is pictured at the library.

Wakefield now has its first specialist Admiral Nurse who is providing support for sufferers and their families, working in a similar way to Macmillan Nurses.

Reminiscence Boxes for you to borrow

THERE are now Reminiscence Boxes available for loan. They cover subjects like childhood, leisure and working life and have objects to look at and suggestions for using the boxes. Day centres, care homes, clubs and many other care and educational groups will find them of interest. Follow the link to the museum blogspot for more information about this fascinating new resource.

With the support of both Wakefield Council's Health Improvement team and Museums Development Yorkshire, Wakefield Museum has worked to provide something that can be used by those working with older people to help facilitate the sharing of memories.

There are now five boxes available. They contain a collection of multi-sensory objects, including photographs, smells and sounds.   Most of the items are authentic, some are modern reproductions, but all of them can be handled. The boxes are accompanied by suggested activities and advice to help care staff use the resources to provide a meaningful and enriching experience for older people, including object handling, sharing stories, talking and listening, as well as art activities such as poetry, music art and craft - with lots of hints and tips for best practice in reminiscence with different types of group.

 Mosaic crashed to the ground

THE mosaic that adorned the front of the old library is sadly gone for ever. During the refurbishment an attempt was made to take it down but the wall behind collapsed and the mosaic crashed to the ground. Katie Bradshaw tells us she recalls that about 20 years ago someone came to Sandal Magna School to help the children make the mosaic and the fish and stars. She wrote: "I remember helping make a couple of the letters. It was a lovely thing to be part of and it lasted so well all those years."                                                                                                      


Library Friends' Fun Day in the sun

Both volunteers and staff had a busy time on a sunny August morning at the Friends of Sandal Library's fundraising Fun Day.

There was a raffle, cake stall, tombola, white elephant stall, refreshments and children's activities.

Fun at school holiday club


Youngsters were enjoying some half-term fun at the library in May with this arts and crafts drop-in session, a project that has been led for many years by retired library staff member Diane Bates (extreme right).

Knit and Natter group is delighted to be back


The ladies from the regular Friday morning knit and natter craft group were delighted to be back at the library when it reopened.



Two organisations - one aim

TWO PEOPLE who both have grim family memories of the way dementia can affect loved ones met for the first time in the reminiscence lounge. Sheila Wainwright, who lost her husband to dementia, has led the fundraising after launching a campaign to get the city its first Admiral nurse. The specialist nurse will provide support for sufferers and their families, working in a similar way to Macmillan Nurses.

Admiral Nurses are organised by Dementia UK working in partnership with NHS providers. Dementia UK - a different organisation to the Alzheimer's Society - has offered its congratulations to Sandal Library for its 'wonderful' dementia-friendly ethos.

Sharon Tepper, customer service supervisor in charge of the library,hublot replica recalls vividly how her grandmother succumbed to dementia and it has driven her to give as much help to sufferers as possible. She and the library team have had dementia training and she is thrilled that on April 13 – the first Monday after Easter – weekly Active Minds sessions will be launched in the lounge from 11am to 12 noon.

Sheila said later: "I never cease to be amazed by the dedication of people to so many different needs." She is pictured (left) with Sharon, sharing a joke in the reminiscence lounge. They now hope to find ways of working together.


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