Shelves of books.

Hayes library wins national award for new teen hangout space

Botwell Green Library in Hayes has won a national award for creating a space for teens to hang out. 

An under-utilised office space at the library was converted into a place for teenagers to mingle and participate in events, coming after a bid for a £10,000 Greater London Authority community grant was approved.

Area manager for the south of the borough Gemma McCaffery and the library’s branch manager Franka Aichour were presented with a Libraries Connected Award at a ceremony at the Chesford Grange Hotel, Warwickshire, on Tuesday June 4 – the due were recognised in the Children’s Promise category.

Aichour said: “I feel absolutely thrilled that we’ve been chosen to win this award as it validates the hard work, we, as a team, have put into the project. We engaged with the local community, learned what the issues were and came up with a solution.”

The room has recording and music equipment, arts and crafts, board games, VR headsets and even a PS5. 

More than 430 people have visited the area in April alone this year, and there are also sessions held specifically for girls in partnership with the council’s youth detachment team.

Gemma McCaffery, centre, and Franka Aichour receive their award from Libraries Connected president Ed Jewell (Photo credit: Ryan Hurley)

Since the first opening in April 2023, more than 2,700 young people have visited this hangout space.

Adam, 16, said: “I like the relaxed environment after school. It’s chilled and I can meet my friends.”

Hillingdon Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services Cllr Eddie Lavery said: “This project, and Gemma and Franka’s dedication, has truly made a difference to the lives of young people in Hayes by providing a safe space for them to meet, relax and enjoy themselves.”

The national awards celebrate the achievements of library workers who have had an exceptional impact on their library service, users, or their local communities.

For the room’s opening times, visit

Image by Lubos Houska from Pixabay, with thanks

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