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4 March 2024

Bolton Central Library project delivers £500k in social value

With its reopening in January, Bolton Central Library has entered into a new chapter following a £4.4m transformation by Robertson Construction North West on behalf of Clear Futures for Bolton Council, while delivering £500k in social value.

Built in the 1930’s and part of the wider Bolton Museum, Archives and Aquarium, the library underwent a restoration and refurbishment to provide new creative and cultural spaces that modernise and adapt the building to meet changing user requirements and serving the wider needs of the community.

While reading, book borrowing and library fundamentals remain, the new spaces focus on users’ priorities, including digital facilities, education and employment information, business support, cultural and creative activities, and health and wellbeing.

The Grade 2 listed building benefits from the provision of additional mezzanine level floor spaces, a new café, and upgraded children and adult library spaces. The project has created a flexible central library plaza space, providing the opportunity for events such as performances, author visits and storytelling alongside a welcoming space for a variety of local community and wellbeing groups.

Committed to creating a meaningful and lasting legacy through community wealth building, Robertson delivered over half a million pounds of social value. This was achieved through using local supply chain, where possible, employing 17 local people, three trainees and 10 apprentices. Robertson supported the Council’s ‘Building Future Skills in Construction Bolton Programme’ by providing work placements to support participants in getting work-ready. Bolton College and local schools also benefited from career sessions and construction-based educational activities.

As part of the Clear Futures Community Neighbourhood Project, Brownlow Fold Church of the Nazarene was selected to benefit from a refurbishment to its kitchen and new youth and community spaces, valued at £10k.

The centre provides modern, multi-use and welcoming youth space and an inclusive, safe place for the community to meet. The new kitchen area has enabled the community outreach programme to expand and offers much-needed support to local residents by delivering cookery education classes, raising awareness of healthy eating and food hygiene. It now provides facilities for families to come together to cook healthy meals in a safe place and signposts people towards college food training courses. 

Dirk Pittaway, Managing Director, Robertson Construction North West, said: “Bolton Central Library’s transformation is greatly enriching users’ experience since its official opening. The high-quality cutting-edge spaces foster creativity, learning and community engagement.

“The library plays such an important role for the community and is a treasured part of Bolton’s history and heritage. Which is why throughout the project we remained respectful of the building’s unique character, making sure that authentic, architectural features remained.

“The transformation delivered by this project goes beyond the building and was far reaching into the local community.”

Cllr Akhtar Zaman, Deputy Leader, Bolton Council, said: “Regeneration is not just about bricks and mortar, it is about improving the lives of our residents by offering better services, experiences, and opportunities.

“The newly renovated Bolton Library is a perfect example of this, creating a modern, versatile, and welcoming space that offers something for all ages.

“Alongside the many benefits of the physical refurbishment, Robertson and Clear Futures have worked with us to support the wider community, create new jobs and boost skills.”

Funded by the Towns Fund scheme led by the Department for Levelling Up, Communities and Housing, Bolton Central Library is one of many projects being delivered for Bolton Council through a strategic partnership with Clear Futures, a long-term procurement and management vehicle for the UK public sector.

Keith Edwards, Bolton Partnership Director, Clear Futures, commented: “Delivering sustainable solutions to the built environment with expertise, efficiency and value, Clear Futures is proud to support the public sector in strengthening communities.

“Bolton Council is a valued strategic partner with a desire to drive economic and social growth, while providing quality services and facilities for the community it serves, which are epitomised by the magnificent Bolton Central Library project.”