Who are SWISH !

The Friends of South Warrington in Stockton Heath (SWISH) Library was set up following a review of the Warrington Library services which initially took place in 2016. In part it was driven by a reduction in the funding available for libraries.

The outcome of this review was the proposed abandonment of many of the stand alone libraries and their replacement with a set of five community hubs, housing the library stocks with more local arrangements via lockers for ordering, collecting and returning borrowed books.

After public consultation on these proposals, and a strong rejection of them, led by the Save Warrington Libraries campaign, Warrington Council set up a working group to consider the options. This reported to Warrington Borough Council in December 2017. It was agreed that the libraries in Warrington (now 12 in number) would continue in their present form the foreseeable future. A Libraries Partnership Board was set up to oversee a five year strategy for library services and to consider robust business plans for retaining the individual libraries.

The SWISH Library Friends was formally set up in August 2017. It aims to support and champion the library service, to foster the involvement of the local community, to encourage and initiate new activities which widen and increase the user base of the library and to enhance and make best use of the library facilities. The SWISH Friends aim to be practical and supportive, working closely with the library service provided by Livewire. The Friends contribute both to the individual business plan for Stockton Heath and to the overall Partnership Board.

How we link with the library services

Library Friends groups are being set up in many of the libraries in Warrington. They are being encouraged by Warrington Borough Council and by the library provider, Livewire. The Friends support the library services in the delivery of the six universal offers which form a national template for libraries to deliver.

These are:

  • Promote and encourage a love of reading
  • Provide free access to information to help people in their everyday lives
  • Inspire people of all ages to learn, imagine, create, succeed and realise their potential Guide and support people to explore and connect to the wider world
  • Offer a welcoming space to meet, socialise, learn, read and enjoy new experiences
  • Support the health and wellbeing of individuals and local communities

The national universal offers, together with the national events programme can be seen on our web page.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of the Friends group is to work with and support the Library Service in delivering a wide range of library-related activities, which may include:

  • Acting as an independent group dedicated to the promotion and support of the Library Service.
  • Acting as champions of the Library Service by attending events to ensure a Library Service presence at for example, community events
  • Acting as an additional link between the Library Service and the wider community.
  • Fundraising and receiving contributions for purchasing additional items such as furniture or equipment or to help support the introduction of a new area of service or activity.
  • Supporting specific activities in the library such as author talks or input to the National Libraries Day.
  • Supporting the recruitment and training of volunteers for the different volunteer roles offered by the Friends in support of the Library Service.
  • Delivering additional programmes of events beyond those planned and delivered by the Library Service
  • Initiating or supporting the development of services or activities which optimise or enhance the use of the library facilities including its buildings

(It is an important principle that the Friends Group and its membership is not deployed as a substitute for employed service staff).


Membership is open to people who are interested in helping the Friends group to achieve its aims either as an individual or as a nominated representative of an organisation.


Chairperson: Peter Lewenz    chair@libraryfriendsswish.org.uk

Treasurer: Mike Rotherham     treasurer@libraryfriendsswish.org.uk

Secretary: Anne Tonge          secretary@libraryfriendsswish.org.uk

Events Coordinator: Pat Barlow      eventscoord@libraryfriendsswish.org.uk

Publicity: Bev Williams         publicity@libraryfriendsswish.org.uk

What you can do and How to Join

We welcome new members, especially those who wish to be actively involved. A membership application form is available on our JOIN US page. The Friends do not have a membership fee but invite donations to assist with administration (£2 recommended)

If you would like to become involved in any one of our activities, initiate a new one, or help more generally, please contact one of the officers above.


The SWISH Library Friends are a constituted voluntary organisation. Our constitution can be viewed on our Constitution page


A Programme of events for 2018 will be published shortly.

Specific event details can be viewed on our Events page.


The SWISH Library Friends meet monthly in Stockton Heath Library

Minutes of our Committee meetings will be published shortly.

The Annual General Meeting for 2018 will be held at Stockton Heath Library on 7th June 2018.  Members of the public are welcome to attend.

SWISH Friends have a noticeboard at the entrance to Stockton Heath Library.

Useful Links


Warrington Borough Council – Libraries Partnership Board


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