Luke Hall MP has successfully secured the provision of free books, for children who are currently in care in South Gloucestershire.
The scheme is part of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, a project which benefits thousands of children across the UK every year. The book gifting programme was set up for children aged 0-5, and operated by Dolly Parton’s charity, the Dollywood Foundation.
There is a wide variety of books for children, and all those enrolled in the Imagination Library programme will receive a free book in the post every month, from birth until when they turn 5 years old. Since 2019, 89,189 free books have been mailed to looked after children in England. Across the UK, the Dollywood Foundation mails around 50,000 books a month, with around 6,500 of these going to looked after children in England and Scotland.
Luke reached out to South Gloucestershire Council to ask if efforts could be made to deliver this programme here in South Gloucestershire, initially for those children most in need. South Gloucestershire Council has accepted the MP’s proposals, and work is underway to get this programme set up for some of our area’s most vulnerable children and families.
Luke Hall said, “As a father to three young boys, I know how vital it is to have easy access to reading and a regular mix of stories and books for children to enjoy. This is a brilliant project which will be a huge help to children who are receiving care, boosting their literacy and reading skills and giving them lots of new and exciting stories to read and enjoy.”
Cllr Sam Bromiley, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services at South Gloucestershire Council, said, “It is clear that there is a positive relationship between reading frequency and reading enjoyment and I welcome any opportunity to support our children in care with anything that helps them to reach their full potential.” “I’m grateful to Luke as one of our Local MPs for what he has done to bring the programme to South Gloucestershire and look forward to hearing how the Imagination Library will positive impact local children in care.”
Local carer Wes Figg, who spoke with Cllr Bromiley and Mr Hall about the initiative, said: “It is brilliant that looked after children in South Gloucestershire are going to be benefitting from the Imagination Library. Watching a love for reading flourish in a child is such a rewarding experience, something that not only helps develop a fundamental skill as they grow but helps foster creativity and I want to thank Luke and Cllr Bromiley for championing this opportunity for children across South Gloucestershire.”
The Imagination Library is the latest step in the MP’s Positive Plan for Schools and Families, to deliver the best services and education for the next generation.