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New chapter for book trolley service at Cefn Coed

Books on Wheels

A new chapter has begun for the health board’s book trolley service with its introduction to Cefn Coed Hospital.

The Books on Wheels service was launched in Neath Port Talbot Hospital in 2022 and run by Memory Impairment Advice Team. Then after being championed by Dr Aisha Ansar in Morriston, volunteers bringing books to patient bedsides to combat boredom during their stay.

It proved so successful the volunteer trolley service was rolled out to Singleton Hospital, and now, for the first time, it is being brought onto wards at Cefn Coed.

Occupational therapy (OT) technical instructor Louise Bevan said: “It is good for patients because as well as providing them with something to read, which can be therapeutic, it also gives them someone new to talk to.

“Many patients are here for a long time, so it’s a new focus for them and an opportunity to have some new conversations.

“Our volunteer, Angharad Burns, is a psychology student, so it is a good opportunity for her too.

“She takes the trolley to patients and she’s very friendly and engages and communicates with the patients who come to see her.

"It's a simple idea which could have huge benefits. If a patient can concentrate on reading for even a short period, it could reduce anxiety and provide a positive coping strategy to better manage their own mental health.”

Books on wheels service 

In addition to books, the trolleys contain a selection of magazines and puzzles, colouring materials, activities and even radios.

Cefn Coed library services manager Emma Jones said the service received donations of books from a variety of sources, including individuals and old stock from Neath Port Talbot library service.

Book trolley volunteer Angharad, from Glynneath, visits Cefn Coed one day a week.

She said: “I found out about the role at my local library and thought it ideal as it is in an area of interest to me.

“I think it’s a brilliant idea. I’m an avid reader so I understand the benefits of books. But more than that, the service brings someone new onto the ward which gives patients an opportunity to speak to someone else.”

Catherine Roberts, adult inpatient OT lead, added: “It’s so lovely to see this project come to fruition. I’m sure it will be welcomed by the patients in Cefn Coed Hospital.

“Making books and other materials more accessible gives people the opportunity to re-establish old interests in reading or even develop new ones. This may offer some much-needed respite during a stay in hospital.  Well done to all involved in making this happen.”

If people are interested in finding out more or becoming a book trolley volunteer they can email or call 01792 703290.

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