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Welsh Government supporting foodbanks and local community groups with book-gifting

04 Apr 2022 4 minute read
A selection of the books gifted to Food Banks and community groups. Image: Books Council of Wales

Community groups and foodbanks across Wales are adding children’s books to the list of resources and support they are able to provide for families from this spring.

As part of the Welsh Government’s book-gifting campaign, the Books Council of Wales have supplied over 40,000 books to foodbanks, community organisations and other local groups to be made available to children and young people.

The Books Council of Wales is a national charity which supports and develops the publishing industry in Wales and promotes literacy and reading for pleasure through a range of public campaigns, activities and events across Wales.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic they have delivered several book-gifting campaigns for groups including families, young carers and looked-after children.

According to research by the National Literacy Trust, one in 11 (9.4%) children and young people said they do not have a book of their own at home, rising to one in eight (13.1%) children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Joy of reading

The Trussell Trust’s Network Lead for Wales, Susan Lloyd-Selby, said: “This initiative has enabled food banks in our network across Wales to provide books to children whose families might otherwise struggle to afford them.

“The quality and variety of books provided was fantastic and it’s been wonderful to hear about how excited the children have been to receive their books.

“Last year, Trussell Trust food banks provided over 54,000 emergency food parcels to children in Wales. It’s not right that anyone should have to rely on a food bank, and this initiative has helped ensure that children whose families are struggling financially are able to benefit from the joy of reading.”

Schools gifting

This is the first stage in the Books Council of Wales’ delivery of Welsh Government’s book-gifting scheme. The next stages of this multi-million-pound investment in reading engagement include the gift of an individual book for every learner between the ages of 3 and 16 via all state schools in Wales, and a programme of Schools Gifting, where each state school will receive a specially chosen selection of books for their school library.

The Schools Love Reading programme will mean that learners across Wales have equal access to a diverse range of appealing and quality literature, in Welsh and English, that has been specially selected for children and young people.

Shoned Davies, Schools Love Reading Project Manager at the Books Council of Wales, said: “It’s been wonderful to work with our friends and partners at the Trussell Trust, FareShare Cymru, IFAN (Independent Food Aid Network) and many community groups across Wales to deliver these books for children and young people.

“We chose these high-quality books from amongst the best-selling titles produced by publishers in Wales to include a wide range of age ranges, subjects and titles so that everyone can choose the right book for them.”

Fundamental skill

Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, said: “Reading is a fundamental skill in just about every aspect of life. I want to ignite a passion for reading for all our children and families. “

Through this exciting book-gifting initiative, as part of the £5m additional funding from Welsh Government, I want to ensure that every learner in Wales has a book of their own to keep.”

“The books included for this phase of Schools Love Reading are high-quality books from amongst the best-selling children’s titles produced by publishers in Wales. They include a wide range of age ranges, subjects and titles in both Welsh and English, so that every child or family can choose the right book for them.”

Participating publishers are Graffeg Publishing, Firefly Press , Candy Jar Books , Atebol,  Welsh Children’s Books by Dref Wen , Rily Publications and Y Lolfa

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