Exterior of Fullwell Cross Library

Fullwell Cross Library to receive grant funding of nearly £400,000 to help modernise and refurbish much-loved facility

Published: 26 March 2024

One of Redbridge's most popular libraries will benefit from a significant modernisation programme after being awarded nearly £400,000 in grant funding.

Following the council's successful bid, Fullwell Cross Library in Barkingside will receive £380,000 of capital investment from the Libraries Development Fund.

The £20.5 million Libraries Improvement Fund transforms public library services in England by helping them upgrade their buildings and improve their digital infrastructure, so they are better positioned to respond to changing user needs. Local authorities can bid for the money on behalf of their library services.

The funding will support essential upgrades to Fullwell Cross Library – such as vital repairs, renovations and the development of digital infrastructure – which will ensure it can continue to be an asset to the local community and improve the visitor experience.

The modernisation will create opportunities for local people to engage with innovative technologies, develop new audiences for the arts, offer affordable meeting and recreational spaces, provide an inspiring and inclusive children's library suitable for all children at various stages of childhood and develop new commercial opportunities for the library.

Mark Baigent, Corporate Director of Regeneration and Culture, said: "Libraries have always been at the heart of our communities in Redbridge, and we want to continue that legacy by offering our customers the best possible experience when they step through the doors or access services remotely.

“This funding will be vital in helping to create a more modern and flexible library at Fullwell Cross, offering a range of new activities while still respecting and celebrating the heritage of this iconic building. The investment will deliver massive improvements to Fullwell Cross Library, including new digital infrastructure, better facilities for children and adults, and improved accessibility.

"The digital upgrades will support our digital inclusion and customer experience strategy, creating a better-connected community with the relevant skills and access to benefit from digital technologies and make their lives easier.

"We look forward to seeing the new library take shape and how it will offer our visitors a far more modern, comfortable, and enriching experience."

Martin Solder, Chair of Vision Trustees, Said, “Vision RCL is thrilled to embark on a journey of transformation at Fullwell Cross Library, having already delivered a number of successful library renovation projects across the borough. 

 "Vision will continue to work with the Council to create an inspiring, cultural, social & educational hub for Barkingside, extending the range of services and activities that the public have come to expect from a modern library.”

Some of the improvements to be delivered at Fullwell Cross Library include:

  •  A redesign and refurbishment of the lending libraries with new furniture & fittings
  • A dynamic new digital makerspace called Lab FX will enable local communities to experience innovative technologies such as Virtual Reality, Coding, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Robotics, and 3D printing.
  • An enchanted forest-themed children’s library inspired by nearby Hainault Forest Country Park. This will be a magical, playful space for children of all abilities. It will include specialist SEN equipment, a gaming projector, and space for families to be creative together.
  • Upgrades to digital equipment, including static desktop computers and tablets. Further upgrades to Wi-Fi will increase current capacity and make provisions for Wi-Fi printing.
  • Specialist equipment to support people with cognitive challenges in developing their abilities through playful sensory games.
  • Full refurbishment of the library halls
  • Exhibition space
  • Dedicated study areas and space for group activities and events.