VOLUNTEERS at Norton Hive Library and Community Hub have been praised for their efforts in saving the facility.

Cllr Helen Swiers, chairman of North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC), visited the Hive with colleagues to see the work of the volunteers and how they have been supported by the council’s Stronger Communities programme, which helps communities to play a greater role in delivering services.

The Hive is one of the libraries handed over to volunteer management by the county council in April last year.

It now has seven trustees and 35 volunteers, all of whom have gone through extensive training.

The volunteers have made huge progress, raising funds to refurbish the building and improving disabled access. Garages have also been converted into offices, which are now occupied by two tenants, helping to generate income for the group.

Opening hours have increased from 10 hours a week to 22 hours a week and footfall into the Hive has increased by 70 per cent.

In addition to traditional library services, the Hive hosts adult learning classes, singing sessions, Pilates, meditation, knit and natter, table top board games and language classes.

Ryedale District Councillor Elizabeth Shields, chairman of the trustees, said: “We have had some wonderful support from local people who have shared their expertise.

"The town council has been very supportive and we have used local firms to help us.

"We were delighted that Helen came.

"It was good for them to see what was going on. There are so many activities."

“Our immediate plans now are to improve the outdoors area and create a sensory garden with raised beds. We also have plans to improve the car park and, ultimately, we would like to create a bigger café.”

Cllr Swiers said: “It’s also a chance to thank volunteers for their efforts and to see how Stronger Communities is supporting them.”