The Welsh Government is supporting food banks and local community groups with book donations

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A selection of books donated to food banks and community groups. Image: Books Council of Wales

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

As part of the Welsh Government’s book donation campaign, the Books Council of Wales has provided over 40,000 books to food banks, community organizations and other local groups to make available to children and youth.

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 organized several book donation campaigns for groups including families, young carers and children in care.

According to a study by the National Literacy Trust, one in 11 children and young people (9.4%) said they did not have a book at home, which represents one in eight children (13.1%) from disadvantaged backgrounds.

joy of reading

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

“The quality and variety of books provided were fantastic and it was wonderful to hear how delighted the children were to receive their books.

“Last year Trussell Trust Food Banks provided over 54,000 emergency food parcels to children in Wales. It’s not fair that anyone has to rely on a food bank, and this initiative has helped ensure that children whose families are struggling financially can enjoy the joy of reading.

Donations to schools

This is the first stage of the Books Council of Wales delivering the Welsh Government book donation scheme. The next steps in this multi-million pound investment in reading engagement include the donation of an individual book for each learner aged 3-16 through all public schools in Wales, and a school gift scheme , where each public school receives a selection of books specially chosen for their school library.

The Schools Love Reading program means that learners in Wales have equal access to a diverse range of engaging, quality literature, in Welsh and English, which has been specially selected for children and young people.

Shoned Davies, Schools Love Reading project manager at the Books Council of Wales, said: “It has 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 have chosen these high-quality books from the best-selling titles produced by publishers in Wales to include a wide range of age groups, subjects and titles so that everyone can choose the book that suits them. “

Core Competency

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

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

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