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Libraries see record number of babies

They may not be able to read but a new initiative encourages the very youngest to join the library by offering automatic membership as part of birth registration.



More families than ever before have registered their new baby with the West Sussex library service.

This is thanks to an initiative which encourages the very youngest in the county to join the library by automatically offering membership to babies as part of birth registration appointments.

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On average 8,700 births are registered each year in West Sussex. Of this, 7,500 (86%) opted to join the library service this year compared with 6,000 (69%) the year before.

Special sessions of ‘rhyme time’ are planned in June to welcome children to the library and celebrate the benefits of sharing books, stories and rhymes from as early an age as possible.

This forms part of the Booktrust’s National Bookstart Week which runs until June 10.

A full list of events can be found here:

Debbie Kennard, Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said:

“Our libraries are such great spaces, bringing together people of all ages and allowing them to thrive in a safe environment. I’m so excited to see the numbers of our very youngest libraries users has gone up at the very start of this year.

“I hope this could mark the start of a lifelong love of reading!

“As well as supporting your child’s development and helping prepare them for school, libraries are also an excellent way for parents to connect and access useful resources.

“I would really encourage families come to one of the special rhyme time events.”

Every baby is entitled to a Bookstart baby pack containing baby books, a rhyme sheet and information for parents and carers about sharing stories and rhymes with babies. This is usually given by a health visitors at 6 to 8 weeks of age or is also available in local libraries.

Bookstart is a national programme run by Booktrust to introduce children to books as early as possible.

BookTrust is the largest children’s reading charity in the country.

Learn more about free Bookstart packs for children and babies here:

The county council is passionate about the vital role played by our library and children and family services in providing shared spaces for local people to thrive – by providing access to information, places to connect with others, opportunities to learn new skills and ways in which to build confidence and community resilience.

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As a hot weekend approaches Southern Water asks Crawley residents to use water wisely as demand soars



Before anyone thinks it’s about a water shortage, it isn’t. It’s about water demand and there is a difference.

The UK is ten weeks into lockdown, with many hundreds of thousands of people at home all day who wouldn’t normally be.

This means a lot of additional hand washing and increased usage in the home (more showers, more washing and more cleaning and cooking etc.)

With all the glorious sunny weather then of course paddling pools, hose pipes and sprinklers are all on the cards.

After all, people are all stuck at home unable to go to the beach or away on holiday as many would normally at this time of year – so those with gardens want to make the most of them, stay cool and water plants.

And with one of the wettest Januarys and Februarys on record there is no problem right?

Well, it’s not that clear cut and here’s why…

Yes there is enough water sat in reservoirs right now thanks to the rain we have experienced, however, water of course has to go through a process to make it safe before it arrives at your tap.

On an average day, Southern Water treat and supply 538 million litres of water – enough to make half the world’s population a cup of tea.

In lockdown, people are using between 10 and 20 per cent more than usual. But even with the extra demand of lockdown, we can treat more than enough water.

However, in hot weather demand really soars and then it becomes difficult to keep up. Imagine being in a shower when someone turns on a tap downstairs – the water slows to a trickle.

And the hot weather coupled with the extra people at home has meant we are seeing some really high peaks throughout the day; in fact some days during lockdown we have seen an extra 60 million litres demand!

Sprinklers, hoses and paddling pools require extreme large quantities of water, something we should be mindful of during a normal summer anyway, but if that demand hits the network at the same time (which lockdown is causing it to do) it causes demand to out weigh supply.

Quite simply, if lots of people fill pools and use hoses and sprinklers – the water supply has to be split between all demands.

So you see, this is why water companies like Southern are asking everyone across the country to use water wisely during lockdown – the demand on the hot days is too high. The water treatment works which are more than capable of producing more than enough water for all essential use are very suddenly stretched.

Especially as these days fewer people have the single occupancy child paddling pools which only take a few litres and are opting for the larger versions – most pools are now between 500 and 1000 litres, with some whoppers as big as 3500 litres – that’s a lot of water! It’s worth noting that as we move further into summer; these sums of water can also go on to cause a water shortage too.

Based on just one average 500-1000 litre pool it takes equivalent amount of water for around:

We hope that this helps to make it clear that thanks to the wet weather over winter we are currently in the lucky position that there is no water shortage, but that Southern Water are joining forces with all water companies across the UK to ask people to use water wisely during lockdown, so that demand can be met at all times.

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