Save the date! Mereside’s Library & Laundry Room grand opening

LeftCoast is inviting Blackpool residents to the grand opening of Wash Your Words: Langdale Library & Laundry Room.

The Blackpool based arts company is hosting a free day full of family-fun entertainment on 30th July to mark the official launch of Mereside’s newest community space. 

The event will kick off at 11am with a ceremonial procession to transport books from the old Mereside Library, down Langdale Road, to the new build on Langdale Parade.

Peg the washerwoman will lead the way where she will perform a surprise laundry inspired tune.

Once the books have made their way to their new home, there will be a series of speeches from LeftCoast’s Creative Producer, Laura Jamieson, as well as the project’s lead architects Ecaterina Stefanescu and Lee Ivett, who lecture UCLan’s Grenfell-Baines Institute of Architecture.

Photo: Claire Griffiths

After the talks, the Langdale Library and Laundry Room (named Wash Your Words by residents) will officially open to the public with a string of workshops throughout the day, including:

  • Story time
  • Sock puppet making
  • Book bag making

Refreshments will also be available, and everyone is welcome to attend.

Prior to the opening, LeftCoast’s associate artist Gillian Wood will be hosting the following local workshops:

  • Natural dyeing on Tuesday 19th July (12pm – 4pm) on the Mereside Green
  • Book making on Thursday 21st July (2pm – 5pm) at the old Mereside Library

LeftCoast’s Creative Producer Laura Jamieson, said: “We are really pleased to open this experimental space with the community of Mereside. Our volunteers have worked really hard to design and build this space with architects Lee Ivett and Ecaterina Stefenscau over the past year. We hope that it is a useful asset and creative space within the neighbourhood and are looking forward to celebrating with everyone on the 30th.

Wash Your Words is a collaboration between LeftCoast, Blackpool Council, and Blackpool Coastal Housing, which has been made possible through the work an involvement of local volunteers (including members from BetterStart and Volunteer Centre Blackpool, Wyre & Fylde’s Dads For Life group).

The concept initially came from a previous LeftCoast project in the area, called Mereside at Play. Through funding from Better Start, LeftCoast was able to undertake a programme of creative engagement around the development of green spaces in the neighbourhood.

A bid from The National Lottery Community Fund was later secured, allowing the team to take a further year long journey with architects Lee Ivett and Ecaterina Stefanescu, as well as those local to the area, to question and design a space that explores what role a multipurpose building embedded in a community could hold.

Maggie Cornall, Blackpool Coastal Housing’s Director of Operations, said:  “We are proud to be a partner of this innovative initiative, built and driven by community members. This project utilises vacant space we had available. We were keen to work on developing a much needed community laundrette with our sister arts company, LeftCoast. We hoped bringing the library into the facility would add an important dimension, at the same time improving the library services on Mereside making them more accessible and welcoming. 

Photo: Claire Griffiths

“We look forward to seeing the community benefit from the new facility offering more opportunities for people to come together, build supportive friendships and take advantage of potential opportunities which wouldn’t have been possible without this collaboration.”

Lois Duxbury, Mereside Library manager, said: “Blackpool Libraries are excited to collaborate with LeftCoast and Blackpool Coastal Housing on the Wash Your Words site. We are looking forward to opening the space within the Mereside community. 

“The Wash Your Words site will provide a safe space for so many throughout the community and also the wider Blackpool population. It will also allow the library service to expand its offers and provide more for the community. 

“We are eagerly awaiting the opening of Wash Your Words and invite the community to see how this project has progressed over the past few months.” 

Cllr Paula Burdess, Labour Councillor for Clifton Ward said: “This new facility is great news for LeftCoast and Mereside! The new Library, Laundry space will be a fantastic asset for residents to be able to use and socialise. 

“Now that the long-awaited redevelopment of the library nears completion, we cannot wait to invite everyone to the grand opening in a few weeks’ time.”