Laura Trott, MP conducted her first official opening as the Sevenoaks MP, with the new community library in Knockholt on Friday 9 October. Due to COVID-19 restrictions the opening socially distanced and compliant with COVID guidance but still gave our new MP an opportunity to meet with the people closely involved.
The project started out at the end of April by the newly formed community support group Knockholt Help, through an emailed appeal for books and jigsaw puzzles to help those in the Coronavirus ‘lockdown’, and received an enthusiastic response. Weekly updated spreadsheets were circulated through Knockholt Grapevine and items were either collected by residents from the Village Centre or delivered to those who had to self-isolate, all for no charge.
With better weather, the growing collection of books and puzzles was displayed outdoors in the carpark, before being transferred to the foyer when ‘lockdown’ measures were relaxed further. Responding to overwhelming requests by users to make the facility permanent, the committee of the Village Centre offered the now formally named Knockholt Books a permanent home in the old library room (originally an annexe to Sevenoaks Library).
With funding for new bookshelves from Knockholt Parish Council and a delivery of surplus bookcases from Sevenoaks Council offices, at the end of August a team of volunteers transformed the bare room into a library. Opening two half days a week, the library continues to offer a free service to users, though financial donations are appreciated to help towards refurbishing the building. The stock of books and puzzles continues to be refreshed with donations, and with the onset of colder weather, a warm welcome is now extended to residents of neighbouring villages.
Speaking at the opening, Laura Trott MP said:
“It was my pleasure to formally open Knockholt Books. Out of the adversity of the Coronavirus restrictions, communities have really pulled together and Knockholt Books is one such example. Local people, working together with the parish and district council, have created not only a valuable service during lockdown, but now a lasting asset to the community”