This month Salford City Council, working with Salford Libraries, which is part of Salford Community Leisure, celebrates a three-year partnership with BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity.
This partnership will see BookTrust provide books and resources to the value of £496,392 to Salford communities which are distributed via schools, libraries and healthcare visits.
BookTrust’s programmes in Salford, and across the country, are provided through funding from the Arts Council England plus support from the UK publishing industry and other BookTrust supporters.
The ongoing partnership reinforces the positive work that Salford Council and Salford Libraries are doing to encourage a city-wide love of reading, getting families to read together and developing life-long reading habits.
The BookStart resources include a Bookstart baby pack, which provides free books to every baby during their first year, and again aged three. 86% of all babies born to families in Salford receive books and reading materials, which is the highest number since the scheme began in 1992.
The Bookstart baby packs include two board books, a rhyme sheet and a booklet of tips and ideas for sharing books. The packs are also a useful recourse for parents and carers as they provide reading materials, tips and information about reading to babies and toddlers.
Salford’s Bookstart scheme also provides free packs to children with additional needs including blind or visual impairment, Deaf or hearing impairment and children who have disabilities that impact on or delay their fine motor skills development. Annually, over 120 local families are able to benefit from this service. Bookstart also provides Dual Language books to support families with English as second language.
As the world’s first national book-gifting programme, Bookstart aims to encourage a love of books, stories and rhymes in children from as young an age as possible. The benefits of reading for pleasure has been widely reported; children who aren’t read to in the early years start school a year behind their peers, a gap that only widens as they get older.
Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett, said: “We’re proud to be able to announce another three years’ of Book Trust in Salford. We’re fully committed to investing in reading and literature from birth. Salford Council, Salford Community Leisure and Salford Libraries’ ongoing commitment to Book Trust is another example of our outstanding library provisions. We have some of the leading quality children’s libraries and library facilities in the UK including 16 libraries, dedicated children’s librarians and hundreds of free Storytime sessions for 0-4s all year round.”
Diana Gerald, CEO, BookTrust said: “I’m delighted that we’re able to work with Salford City Council on such exciting partnership. Salford is clearly committed to changing the lives of their children and young people through reading and understand how important reading is to improving their life chances.
“Research shows that a child who enjoys reading will do better in all subjects, even maths. That’s why we make sure every child gets high quality children’s books and support from birth, and why – working with Salford local authority – we will be distributing nearly £500,000 worth of books to children and families across the county over the next three years.”