Salford children are celebrating a deal which will provide them with free books worth nearly half a million pounds over three years.
Salford City Council, working with Salford Libraries, which is part of Salford Community Leisure, has secured a new three-year partnership with Book Trust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity.
To celebrate a story-rhyme time event took place on March 13 at Swinton Library, allowing children and carers to get involved with reading fun stories, singing songs and playing.
This three-year partnership commits the charity to provide books and resources to the value of £496,392 for Salford communities which are distributed via schools, libraries and healthcare visits.
The funding for the BookTrust resources in Salford is provided by Arts Council England.
The collaboration 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.
A childminder who attended the event, Faye Cheetham, said: “It’s a really good service to be able to take books home and read them.
“My children and the children I look after love reading books and I’m happy this has been put into place to encourage them to have an interest in books, and this carries on when they get older.
“It’s really good for families who are quite busy as well and don’t have much time to read to their children, it’s nice and gives an importance to reading.”
Head of libraries for Salford, Chris Farey, said: “I think having the partnership with the Book Trust encourages parents to help their children instil the love of reading because we know and it’s been evidenced that the result of reading for pleasure in young children greatly helps people’s later aspirations at school and at work and beyond.
“It’s a fundamental part of what we do and we’re very proud across 16 libraries to still be providing a service that encourages that love of reading across the board.”
The resources include a Bookstart baby pack, which provides free books to every baby during their first year, and again aged three.
The Bookstart baby packs include two board books, a rhyme sheet and a booklet of tips and ideas for sharing books.
BookTrust team member Oliver Coppard talks about why they decided to start the programme:
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.”
The benefits of reading for pleasure have been widely reported; children who aren’t read to in their early years start school a year behind their peers, a gap that only widens as they get older.
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.