Fresh Horizons – Library collocated with other services
Fresh Horizons are a company limited by guarantee. They employ 60 staff who provide a range of services including advice services, construction and management of community facilities. They have managed to establish a community library in an area where there previously wasn’t one. It is located in the Chestnut Centre which is based in a deprived (local Super Output Area is ranked in the bottom 3% in the country) residential area two miles from the centre of Huddersfield. There is an ethnically diverse local community, predominantly white and Afro-Caribbean.
Fresh Horizons provides an efficient library service by collocating and running it alongside a range of other services including comprehensive advice services and a credit union. As a result the library operates very efficiently and at lower costs than comparable services run by the local authority.
The service is not dependent on volunteers but they encourage volunteering to increase local residents’ skills and employability and to ensure that they will be sufficiently experienced to apply for paid roles as they arise – either within Fresh Horizons or the wider council service.
Income comes from a range of sources including management fees for delivering a community resource centre as well as service delivery contracts for a range of public services including advice services, and the library itself.
An example of their other work is the Empty Homes programme, turning long-term empty privately owned properties into much needed affordable homes. Fresh Horizons are employing local unemployed construction workers and apprentices in the refurbishment.
The aim is to bring back 100 properties over the next three years with the coming together of owners, people in housing need and social enterprise.