Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust has breathed new life into the former Walton Library by transforming it into a new centre for learning, recovery, health and wellbeing.
As one of the UK’s leading mental health trusts, Mersey Care have extensively refurbished the interior and preserved the historic exterior of the building, which was acquired after becoming available as part of Liverpool City Council’s reduction in library services.
In addition to retaining some popular library services, Mersey Care has funded a restoration of the building and created a base for a range of life opportunities for service users and carers and services to the wider community in a way that challenges stigma and promotes positive mental health and wellbeing.
The much-loved building on Evered Avenue, off Rice Lane, Walton, was opened in 1911, with the £8,000 cost being paid by Scottish-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and will now host a variety of ‘life rooms’ alongside library facilities including:
- An employment and enterprise hub to help Mersey Care service users get back to work, through volunteering opportunities and further education
- Service users and carers will be able to get information about physical and mental wellbeing, advice on money, housing and community services, including sessions for Liverpool City Council and other agencies
- A library for health and wellbeing, learning, literature and poetry
- A children’s library area
- Mersey Care Recovery College learning rooms for people who want to come our wide range of sessions and workshops
- Meeting spaces for community groups
- A free IT suite for everyone to use
- Interview areas for private confidential support
- An open area for art exhibitions and cultural activities for everyone
- A café run by a local social enterprise, North Perk
Michael Crilly, Mersey Care’s Director of Social Inclusion and Participation, said: “People have been scared they’d lose their library so it’s good to be able to reassure them that this building will be staying.”
“When you’re facing challenges it’s crucial to have somewhere where you feel valued, so when you step through the door, there’s a sense of welcome, a feeling that reminds you that you matter. We want it to be a happy building that people want to visit, where they look forward to coming back.”
“Carnegie believed a beautiful building would lift people’s spirits, give them hope and provide a horizon of learning on which to move forward in life. We want to be true to that vision and a lot of thought has been given to preserving the building. We have accentuated the historic features and enhanced what is already a place of beauty.”
He added: “It is home to our Recovery College so people can come to sessions and workshops; there is advice on housing and money and staying physically well, amongst other things. We can help people get into volunteering, to prepare for work, find jobs or start up new businesses using their gifts and talents.”
“There is an IT suite for anyone to use and we have kept popular sections of the library for health and learning, children’s and schools’ section and a local history library. There is meeting space available for local community groups and individual bookable spaces to enable the city council and other agencies to come in, and offer advice and information sessions to the general public.”
The centrepiece of the building is a stunning glass dome, which has remained a key part of the redesign of the building, which aims to make the area feel light, airy and welcoming.
Who to contact
Where to go
- Life Rooms
- L9 2AF
Time / Date Details
- When is it on
- Open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4.30pm.
- Time of day
- Local Offer Age Bands
Young Adults (16 to 25)
Primary (5 to 11)
Secondary (11 to 16)
Early Years (0 to 5)