Gorton Imagination Library is on a mission to spread a love of reading and receiving this award will help them to do just that!  From over 5,000 applications, Gorton Imagination Library (GIL) was selected as one of the 241 winners nationally. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was created in 2002 for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and shines a light on outstanding examples of volunteering.  Equivalent to an MBE, QAVS are the highest awards given to local voluntary groups in the UK, and they are awarded for life.  GIL, a registered charity, has gone from strength to strength driven by its strong partnerships and team of volunteers, including Sure Start, Read Manchester and Reform Radio.

eight people receiving the Queens voluntary service award.

GIL is a book gifting programme which is affiliated with the Imagination Library UK.  Dolly Parton (yes, that Dolly Parton) set up the programme to help families develop a love of reading.  Children who are registered to the scheme receive a free book through the post every month until they are five.  Access to books supports the development of communication and language skills and literacy.  GIL does more than gift books though.  As GIL works very closely with Sure Start Children’s Centres in the area, there are opportunities to support families by accessing the range of courses and play sessions on offer.  GIL supports the whole family, and some parents have gone on from volunteering to paid employment as a result of their involvement in the programme.

Cardboard cut out of Dolly Parton
The Queen's Award for voluntary service.

A parent who nominated GIL for the Award said ‘By having the books sent home it engaged us all as a family in reading and helped him in building his first personal library… My son’s reading abilities now have exceeded expectations for his age and he has a wide vocabulary as well as loving reading on his own’.

Can you help?  To register a child costs only £25 per year. It is amazing value for money and can give children and families the boost they need to start their reading journey.  Reading improves literacy and literacy changes lives!  If you would like to support GIL or perhaps the organisation you work for is looking to support a local charity, please get in touch with cheryl.pridgeon@manchester.gov.uk.