6,400 books go to east London schools in charity partnership

Sandringham Primary School bought a book hut after the success of the London Childrens Book Project

Sandringham Primary School bought a book hut after the success of the London Childrens Book Project donation of 1,200 books. Picture: Sandringham Primary School. - Credit: Sandringham Primary School

Ten schools throughout east London have been sent 6,400 books since September as part of an initiative to redistribute new and ‘gently used’ reading material.

Beanstalk, a national reading charity, donated 900 of the books in January. The material is delivered by the London Children’s Book Project to partners like schools and food banks.

Donations are categorised to make sure that children are getting books that interest them, with baby books going to mother and baby groups, for example.

London Children’s Book Project founder Liberty Venn said: “One in four children across London has fewer than ten books of their own at home and poverty is by no means the only reason for a lack of books in many homes.

“Lack of time, negative experiences as a child or lack of parental confidence about their own reading skills can all undermine a family’s propensity to own books.”

For every school the project aims to give about one and a half books per child, so a school of 800 pupils will get 1,200 books.

The project was set up in 2017, but a smaller scheme had run out of a west London primary school, when Liberty’s son went, for the previous four years.

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During book-drives at schools the charity often walked away with 2,000 books donated by families in a single morning.

Louise Bridge, deputy head teacher at Sandringham Primary School in Forest Gate, heard about the project on Twitter.

After talking to Liberty, they were lent a book hut and given 1,200 books (Sandringham is a particularly large school).

“We want our children to not only develop the skills of reading but also an enjoyment and love of reading,” she said.

“This can be helped by children having the opportunity to choose their own book and having books at home.”

After the book hut was collected in January to go to another school, Sandringham decided to buy their own hut to continue the project.

“Our children have been so excited to visit the Book Hut, choose a book and they have loved reading it on the school bus before taking the book home.

“We have encouraged parents to come into school to join their children reading books and this has been wonderful to see.”