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Wigan woman funds apprentice and invests in local library
Friday 14th December, 2018

Today, on the anniversary of her mother’s passing, a woman with a passion for libraries met the apprentice she personally funded using a chunk of her inheritance.

Rosalie Garner, 68, from Wigan has always had a love for libraries and was impressed with Wigan Council’s ability to keep all the borough’s libraries open, despite excruciating financial difficulty.

And, as a way to say thank you, Rosalie used some of the inheritance she received following her mother’s death eight years ago to invest in the local authority’s services.

Thanks to her generosity, Rosalie’s three donations will fund; a customer services apprenticeship, new iPads to support digital inclusion and ‘talking books’ to aid the visually impaired.

Today (Wednesday 13th December), Rosalie was given the opportunity to meet Leah Howard, who was successful in securing the customer services apprenticeship.

Rosalie said: “My mum and I always loved libraries and I’ve been a member of my local library since I was 7 years old.

“The services libraries across the borough provide are invaluable, so when my mother passed away, I wanted to give back and do what I could to support the local community in her memory.

“I’ve worked with the council to discuss what the money will be used for. It’s really important to me that young people are given opportunities to start out in their careers but also I want to ensure those with digital limitations or impairments don’t miss out.

“It’s fitting I’ve met Leah today, which is also my mother’s anniversary. I don’t want to mourn the day, I want to remember it as the day I met Leah.”

Before being recruited, Leah Howard, 20, was a keen volunteer at Wigan Library.

She said: “I’m so grateful to Rosalie for being so selfless and generous. Thanks to her, I’ve been given a fantastic opportunity to kick-start my career and learn new skills.

“As much as I enjoyed volunteering at the library, it’ll be great to do what I enjoy full time. I can’t wait to start my NVQ!”

Despite being the third worst affected by cuts in funding from central government the council has improved services and seen an increase in resident satisfaction.

Councillor Nazia Rehman, cabinet member for resources, finances and transformation at Wigan Council said: “Over the last eight years, difficult decisions have had to be made in order to meet steep cuts.

“We’ve had to think differently in order to ensure communities remain supported and local people don’t miss out on necessary services.

“We understand the importance libraries have in our areas, so we have worked hard to ensure that not only do they remain open, but they provide a vibrant, substantial and inclusive offer to everybody in the borough.

“Rosalie’s decision to support local people in this way is utterly commendable. She has taken her experience and has turned it into something positive and admirable. On behalf of the council and the borough, I’d like to extend a huge thank-you to her. This money will make a huge difference to Leah and other local people.”

For more information about your local library, visit www.wigan.gov.uk/libraries

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