A new partnership between the National Literacy Trust, the Mayor’s Fund for London and HarperCollins will give 9,000 brand new children’s books to London families who are being supported by the Mayor’s Fund for London’s Kitchen Social food programme.
The books, donated by HarperCollins, and an exciting activity pack will be handed to families alongside their food parcel at 29 Kitchen Social hubs in 14 London boroughs. Families will receive:
•one of five books suitable for early years to young adult from authors and brands including Bing, Michael Bond, Richard Scarry, Veronica Roth and National Geographic;
•activity packs from the National Literacy Trust filled with fun reading and writing activities to do at home, including a Time Together booklet for parents with children aged 0-5 and activity booklets for 5-8 year olds and 9-12 years olds based on those available on the charity’s brand new Family Zone website
Many families in these boroughs rely on the support Kitchen Social offers during school holidays. However, due to the current pandemic, the programme has been adapted and expanded what it has to offer. As families are no longer able to meet freely at the Kitchen Social centres, staff are taking on more door-to-door deliveries of food parcels where possible.
Research from the National Literacy Trust shows that almost 60,000 children and young people in the capital don’t own a single book. As public libraries and many schools are closed to the majority of pupils, it has never been a more important time to get books into the hands of the children who need them most.
Jonathan Douglas, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust, said, “We’re so pleased to work with the Mayor’s Fund for London’s Kitchen Social programme to be able to support thousands of families across London with brand new books and activities to enjoy at home this summer. It’s crucial that all children have access to books and resources to support their literacy development at this time and that we do everything we can to encourage them to read for fun to support their wellbeing during this period of uncertainty. We also want to thank HarperCollins for generously donating 9,000 books to bring the magic of stories to homes across the capital this summer.”
Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of the Mayor’s Fund for London, said, “The coronavirus crisis has lain bare the educational inequalities that sadly exist in this country. We must make sure the attainment gap does not worsen as time goes on. We are delighted to be able to offer free books alongside food deliveries to families via our Kitchen Social programme and support children’s learning while schools are closed. We have had so many parents enquire as to whether we have access to free books so we’re really pleased that this partnership will now make this a reality over the summer.”
Fiona Allen, Communications Director at HarperCollins, said, “The Literacy Project is all about getting books into the hands of those that need them most, and that is more important than ever during these uncertain times. HarperCollins is delighted to be working with the National Literacy Trust and Kitchen Social to help support families, and hope these books, together with the activity packs, help children learn and play this summer.”
●The National Literacy Trust’s Family Zone is also providing all families with free digital books, exclusive author videos and engaging literacy activities to keep children engaged, entertained and learning during school closures. Go to:
National Literacy Trust Family Zone