New research has shown how trailblazing libraries are offering a vital lifeline to communities.

The independent research, commissioned by Suffolk Libraries, reveals how libraries are playing a pivotal role in people's well-being.

Lowestoft Journal: Debs Pullum reading a story at Lowestoft Library as part of the Lowestoft Storytelling Chair Trail. Picture: Mick HowesDebs Pullum reading a story at Lowestoft Library as part of the Lowestoft Storytelling Chair Trail. Picture: Mick Howes (Image: Mick Howes)

Suffolk Libraries is the charity which has been running Suffolk's library service for the past 10 years - including the libraries at Lowestoft, Southwold, Oulton Broad, Kessingland, Beccles, Bungay and Halesworth.

Lowestoft Journal: Beccles Library. Picture: NewsquestBeccles Library. Picture: Newsquest (Image: Archant © 2008)

A study by Moore Kingston Smith revealed that the county library service is credited with saving NHS services in Suffolk more than half a million pounds a year in care. 

The report said that Suffolk's libraries generated £41m worth of social value, saving NHS services in Suffolk £542,000 per year.

For every £1 spent, the equivalent in social care help was £6, it said.

With a wide range of free, well-used and much needed services across all 45 branches, Suffolk Libraries runs sessions for all ages - from babies and toddlers through to older people and some of the most vulnerable.

As the first and only library service with a dedicated community mental health and wellbeing team, the Suffolk Libraries model also empowers local managers to identify the specific needs of their community.

It tackles key challenges in society such as meeting basic social needs, mental health support and combatting isolation and loneliness.

From providing much needed essential resources during the cost of living crisis, to running a variety of support groups, new initiatives are being introduced - including the upcoming menopause and perimenopause support service.

Suffolk Libraries patron, presenter, producer and scriptwriter Emma Freud OBE, said: "Suffolk Libraries could clearly be seen as a role model for other libraries across the UK, saving the NHS a significant amount of money in Suffolk every year by reducing pressure on GPs, fewer outpatient visits and mental health assessments."

Lowestoft Journal: Bruce Leeke. Picture: NewsquestBruce Leeke. Picture: Newsquest (Image: ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434)

Suffolk Libraries CEO Bruce Leeke added: "We are delighted with these findings."