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Vulnerable families to receive books during lockdown

Vulnerable families in Bristol are receiving books through a new initiative to support them through the coronavirus lockdown.

According to the National Literacy Trust, 1 in 8 disadvantaged children do not own a book, yet book ownership is significantly linked to increased reading ability and reading for pleasure.

Thousands of books are being gifted to families via Food Clubs and Foodbanks across Bristol, and also by collection at specific Nursery Schools, Children’s Centres and Primary Schools, supporting parents and carers to improve childhood literacy. Some doorstep drops are also being made by Family Support workers, teachers and the Bristol City Robins Foundation.

Over 8000 books suitable for kids aged 0-12 months to age-11 have been generously donated by publishers, charities and other organisations including BookTrust, Hargreaves Lansdown and Phoenix Comics.

The initiative is called ‘Stories at Home’ and the city council are looking for more people to sponsor the project and provide books, contact us via email at coronavirus@bristol.gov.uk if you can help.

Ruth Cochrane, a Community Development Co-ordinator from Hannah More primary school said it is rewarding seeing families who rely on school libraries being able to access new books through Stories at Home.

She said: ‘In Lawrence Hill we have lots of families in need who would usually borrow books for their children, so to be able to continue to provide them with books has been amazing.

‘Teachers from our school are talking to students about what books they have received from Stories at Home and using it as a tool for learning – it’s a really positive project in our community.”

Bristol actor, Joe Sims is volunteering for Stories at Home, delivering books to families across the city, and his fundraising organisation 500 Reasons, have donated £500 worth of books to the project.

He said: ‘It’s such a pleasure to be involved with Stories At Home – reading as a family empowers learning at home, it empowers parents to reinforce good literacy skills and helps families build creative memories together.

‘So often children from more vulnerable families struggle to catch-up when they’ve had to take time out of school – this initiative is a massive step towards helping these brilliant kids enjoy reading and stay engaged with learning.’

 

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