The new library in Abercarn provides the community with an improved service, more computers, more space and a volunteer-run café. The scheme is also providing 10 new affordable housing units on the upper floors, with the emphasis on a high quality contemporary design.
The Welsh Government has provided £620,000 in Social Housing Grant towards the total scheme cost of £1 million for the affordable housing units. The remainder is funded via private finance.
The Minister said,
"I am delighted to have been invited to mark the official opening of this fantastic new facility as libraries play an important part in our lives, from encouraging a love of reading and improving literacy to providing free access to computers. I understand that it has been huge hit already with local residents with visitor figures up by 30%.
"We must not forget that this fantastic new development is also providing 10 much needed affordable housing units for older persons contributing to the 7,500 target that I recently announced and I am pleased that the Welsh Government has been able to provide funding for the housing element of the scheme.
"We face uncertain times in terms of public finances, but I hope that schemes such as this, which do so much good for so many people, will continue to be supported where possible."
Delivered in conjunction with Caerphilly County Borough Council, the ten two-bedroom apartments are exclusively for the over 55s, and are available on a ‘neutral tenure’ basis, which means they are available to either rent through Charter Housing or to buy through Fairlake Living. The homes were ready for tenants in June 2012.
Libraries also contribute to improving our health and wellbeing and the new Abercarn library is taking part in the all Wales "Get Reading, Get Better, Get Libraries" festival.
The festival is highlighting the ways libraries can help improve your health and wellbeing, from borrowing mood boosting books or having a book prescribed to you, to taking part in social events such as reading groups or making the most of health information available in libraries.
The Minister went on,
"There are lots of health events being held in libraries across Wales during the Get Libraries festival, so I encourage you to have a look at what’s on offer in your local library.
"I hope that the new residents will enjoy their new homes and that this development will go on to benefit people in the local community for many years to come."