Donation of 26,000 books for one of England’s most deprived towns
By Michael Drummond, PA South East Correspondent
Children and parents living in one of the UK’s most deprived towns are receiving a “fantastic” donation of more than 26,000 books.
Titles by Neil Gaiman and Jessie Burton as well as radio stars Greg James and Chris Smith feature in the literary bundle bound for Hastings in East Sussex.
The books are a donation from publisher Bloomsbury, which is also contributing £10,000 to the National Literacy Trust’s national emergency fund.
With one if three adults from the UK’s poorest communities having literacy problems, the fund was set up to provide additional help to families who are supporting their children’s learning at home during the Covid-19 crisis.
Despite a phased reopening of schools from June 1, the majority of the nation’s children are still learning from home.
The books – aimed at children and adults – will be distributed by schools that remain open during lockdown, as well as food banks and homeless shelters.
Carole Dixon, chief executive of the Hastings-based charity Education Futures Trust, said: “These fantastic books will be in children’s hands when they are distributed next week. It is lovely to be able to give children new books that they can keep, rather than second-hand versions.
“The latter are really appreciated, but imagine a child, who does not have a book of their own, getting a brand new copy.”
Hastings is one of the most deprived areas of the country, with over 26% of children living in income deprived households, according to the English indices of deprivation 2019 report.
Emma Hopkin, managing director of Bloomsbury Consumer, said: “During these challenging times we are proud, through our partnership with the NLT, to be able to get books directly into the hands of children and families who do not necessarily have access to them.
“We hope that our education resources will inspire children with new ideas and spark creativity to help families best support their children as they learn from home.”