It’s been another bumper few months for Read Manchester’s bookgifting campaign. In December we gave away 18,373 new books and 2,564 magazines to children and young people across the city. This figure takes our total to 85,313 books and 12,142 magazines gifted locally since the first lockdown was announced in March 2020. We’re only 2,245 off the big 100,000!

Collage of children with magazines

Our Christmas campaign was once again focused on gifting books via organisations who work closely with local families. Many of these are food banks and community organisations that have been supporting families through some of the toughest of times.

‘We work with people who have very little money to spend beyond the basics. Especially after Covid. Making books available as well as food has been such a blessing. Each one offered has been received gratefully’.

Openshaw Salvation Army Foodbank

Family support charity, Home-Start Manchester shared how some of their families had reacted to the free books:

‘Thank you for the books, I didn’t realise she would enjoy a longer story so much! I have been reading baby books at bedtime as I thought she wouldn’t understand ones for her age because of her additional needs. She was so engaged, her eyes lit up and we cuddled up for longer, we both got so much out of it’.

‘My son was very happy with the Guinness book of records. I didn’t know what this was, I hadn’t heard about it. He has been practicing all holidays on his own record in the garden with the ball’.

Barlow Moor Community organisations told us how important it was for children to receive new books:

‘’We were over the moon with the quality of the books and it was very emotional to receive these and be able to gift them to children that would not normally receive something of that quality brand new.

Collage of children and adults with books and magazines.

The campaign was given a real boost when Manchester Central Library Development Trust, the charity which supports educational and cultural activities of Manchester Libraries, launched a new appeal at Christmas to help raise funds towards our activities. Thanks to our fantastic supporters, over £1,200 (+£238 Gift Aid) was raised. This means that over the last two years, over £5,000, plus £1,000 in Gift Aid, has been donated by 233 generous supporters! If you donated to our appeals, we greatly appreciate your help – rest assured your funds are being put to good use. If you would still like to donate to this year’s appeal, you can do so here:

Mother and child holding a Peppa pig magazine
Small child meeting Santa.

Thank you to all the publishers, Book Trust and The Reading Agency who have supported us with free books; the public for contributing to the Christmas fundraising appeal and the 100+ organisations that have helped us to reach the families most in need.