Beyond Barriers – Improving Library Services for all in Solihull

As part of the Strengthening Disabled People’s User-Led Organisations programme, I’m always keen to hear about how DPULOs are doing interesting work in their local communities. Enable-Solihull is doing some fascinating work with their local council on the topic of libraries as community hubs – read below for more details. If you’d like to share a similar story/success, freel free to leave a comment and I’ll follow up.

Enable-Solihull is a User-Led Disability Organisation based in Solihull, West Midlands. In close partnership with Solihull Council’s Libraries and Action for Blind People, we are currently organising two Beyond Barriers events.

Solihull Borough’s libraries are vital community hubs; not only the gateway to a vast range of information and entertainment, but also valued community meeting places. Our libraries should be readily available and fully accessible to all members of our community.

Although Solihull libraries provide a range of support services for disabled people, people are not necessarily aware of these. In addition, there may be other physical and social barriers that prevent disabled people from using these services. It is vital to engage with the local community to understand what their needs are and to be able to respond to them.

These events aim to raise awareness of these specialised services and to explore with disabled people any barriers they face in accessing these services.

Following the two sessions, Enable-Solihull and Action for Blind People will work with Solihull Council to put together an action plan to make improvements and address any concerns that are raised by this engagement.

The first of the two open mornings takes place at Chelmsley Wood Library on Thursday 6th December, with the second event at Solihull Central Library on Tuesday 22nd January 2013. Both events run from 11:00am – 1:00pm, with an optional tour of our library facilities beginning at 11:00am. Please see flyer for full details.

Independent Living Information Points

In January, a brand-new disability and social care signposting and information service Independent Living Information Points will be launched. This will be available to the public on a drop-in basis and based in community libraries.

This will initially be a pilot scheme, with the service initially available in the two main libraries in the Borough: Chelmsley Wood Library and Solihull Central Library.

This new service will be delivered by trained volunteers and is seen as being the first step to developing a Centre of Independent Living (CIL) for disabled people and carers in Solihull.

This new service is being provided by Solihull Independent Living Consortium (SILC). SILC is led by Enable-Solihull and is a partnership of local charities involved in providing health and social care services to Solihull people.

Services offered by SILC members include home care, advice and information services, day services, leisure activities and care homes. The members of SILC are Enable-Solihull, SoLO, Family Care Trust, DIAL Solihull, Solihull Carers Centre, Age UK Solihull, Solihull Care Ltd and SWICDA (Solihull Workforce in Care Development Association).

For more information on Enable-Solihull visit:

For more information on SILC Visit:


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Man of letters & numbers; also occasionally of action. Husband to NTW. Dad of three. Friendly geek.

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