Manchester Central Library Development Trust has launched a fundraising appeal to help Read Manchester and Manchester Libraries to provide books and other educational resources directly to families across the city. 

Since the first lockdown started in March, Read Manchester and Manchester Libraries hve already gifted more than 20,000 books, early years magazines, stationery packs and Creative Care Kits to help keep children reading.  Organisations who have benefited included play schemes, foodbanks, community groups, summer schools, SureStart Centres and youth groups, plus the families of children with special educational needs, who received an activity pack and craft materials.  
The scheme is part of the city’s effort to reduce barriers to reading for the city’s children, after a National Literacy Trust survey in July 2020 found that nearly 60 per cent of children used reading to help them feel better and 50 per cent to help them envisage a better future.  Research from the first lockdown showed that access to books had a direct impact on reading behaviour. Children and young people who did not have their own books, or access to books they liked, read less frequently than before the first lockdown. 
Many Manchester libraries have had to temporarily close, or offer a much more limited service during the second national lockdown. This will further increase children’s barriers to reading, with a disproportionate effect on vulnerable families,  who have no access to computers and the Internet, or only limited Wi-Fi access. This makes hard copy book resources become even more essential if the gap in attainment and opportunity is not to widen even further.  

The Book Gifting scheme has been supported by ATG Access based is Haydock, whose staff raised £3,564 for Read Manchester’s Book Gifting initiative by completing the 3 Peaks Challenge in September, with a similar sum also donated to the Lord Mayor of Manchester’s I Love MCR Charity.

Stephen Sorrell, Chair of Manchester Central Library Development Trust said: “We are delighted to support the book gifting initiative at this critical time for children and their learning. Support for Manchester Libraries and Read Manchester will help to ensure that during the second lockdown in particular, no child should be without a single book in their home and we hope people will give what they can to help this Christmas.”

You can support this initiative via the Trust’s Just Giving Appeal page:

By donating to the appeal you will be helping to get books and resources to children and families in Manchester who need them most.