– Posted by Sara
On what has in recent years become known as Giving Tuesday, we wanted to update you on our Books for Schools programme and to thank you for helping us to give back in this way!
As a reminder, we launched Books for Schools in September 2017 with our charitable partner Give a Book. For every order over £100 (ex shipping) we donate £5 to Give a Book to buy a reading book for a school. It is not mandatory for British primary schools to have a formal library, and in any case many children are intimidated by or utterly disinterested in their school library; books are often simply not on their radar!
We believe that access to all sorts of books is an absolutely essential factor in allowing children to grow, to dream, to find escape and enchantment and inspiration. Books allow them to find comfort, discover role-models and both ask and answer questions about the world. Books show children that the world is huge and that their potential is endless.
Since launching this programme we are thrilled to say that we have donated more than 2% of our revenues to charity. For us, it’s really important to give first and then run our business. We don’t want our schools to be the last in the queue to get paid. To put this figure into context, Patagonia urges companies to give 1% of revenues away, but it’s much more common for companies to give a percentage of profits than revenues.
So how has this initiative helped children so far? When we and Give a Book donate the packs to each school (100 books for starters, plus notebooks and pencils for inspired readers to take notes or draw the pictures they’re conjuring up in their heads), the books arrive first at the school’s breakfast club. This cunningly means a much more captive audience! The children who attend the club often have little interaction with books at home or at school. They see the books every day and become more curious about them and more comfortable with them. Reading becomes less scary, more natural, and an increasingly welcome way for them to pass the time before school starts. Over time they connect more and more with the books. Below is some recent feedback from schools we’ve helped:
“Reading at Breakfast Club is particularly popular with children from the many families who don’t own any books”
“They are loving the books, especially the boys, which is amazing to see. Many thanks again. Your hard work is very much appreciated!“
“New books attract different children and appeal to a wider group. It has also been great to introduce reading in a new context. It’s also been a chance to signpost parents to reading opportunities at breakfast club and more widely in school as well”
In recent months Give a Book has started to include more inspirational real-life stories such as the ‘Little People, Big Dreams’, ‘Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls’ and ‘Stories for Boys who Dare to be Different’ series. This has been prompted by the fascination our own children have with real-life heroes and heroines. Give a Book always includes beautiful books by Barrington Stokes which are specially designed for dyslexic readers or children with reading difficulties.
With your help we are steadily building communities of book-lovers among children in some of Britain’s most deprived areas such as Harehills in Leeds, Blackpool and Bolton in the North-West, and Tower Hamlets in London. Thank you so much for your support! We couldn’t do this without you.
Helen & Sara