Local schools join Ant & Dec as they Take 10 to read in Mental Health Awareness Week

13 May 2022
Ant and Dec Take 10  event image

On Tuesday 10 May at 10am, TV presenters Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly encouraged children, communities, and businesses across Birmingham to drop everything and take 10 minutes to read for the National Literacy Trust’s #Take10ToRead challenge, which highlights the link between reading for pleasure and mental wellbeing. More than 54,000 children took part in this #Take10ToRead moment across the UK.

Children from 28 local schools in Birmingham tuned into the digital event which saw Ant and Dec introduce more than 7,300 pupils in the city to Propa Happy (Farshore Books), their debut book supporting children to nurture their wellbeing every day, with author proceeds going to the NSPCC.

Ant and Dec partnered with the National Literacy Trust on the #Take10ToRead challenge as part of UK Mental Health Awareness Week (9 – 15 May), and the event took place in the lead up to the Take 10 moment. The session included a sneak peek of Propa Happy and the book’s illustrator, Katie Abey, led a draw-a-long for children to share what makes them feel happy. The book also launched the duo’s Pass the Positivity Campaign, a nationwide positivity project inviting school-aged children to share what makes them feel good – like reading! Birmingham pupils have been encouraged to give it a go themselves and have the chance to submit their work to the Propa Happy Pass the Positivity Campaign.

In Birmingham, our team of Literacy Champions, 12 local volunteers who support our mission, took 10 minutes to read in City Centre Gardens at 10am, whilst schools who participated in the event have received a Take 10 pack including posters, bookmarks and other collateral, which they can use on an ongoing basis when reading in the classroom.

The #Take10ToRead challenge encourages schools, businesses and communities to stop what they’re doing and take the time to read and focus on their wellbeing every day. Research from the National Literacy Trust shows that reading can be an effective way of helping people care of their mental health and wellbeing – and it only takes 10 minutes a day to see the benefits, including boosting your mood, reducing stress levels and improving memory and concentration.

This Take 10 moment, during Mental Health Awareness Week, feels even more important give the stress and loneliness brought on by two years of lockdowns. Further research from the National Literacy Trust has shown that 3 on 5 (59.3%) of children told us during lockdown that reading made them feel better, and 3 in 10 (31.6%) said that reading helped them when they felt sad because they could not see their family or friends. Moments like the #Take10ToRead campaign, which encourage reading for every day, can make a real difference to the lives of children all over the UK.

Ant McPartlin says:

“We love the National Literacy Trust’s Take 10 campaign so were delighted to be able to take part and encourage children and young people to take time for their wellbeing.”

Declan Donnelly adds:

In these difficult times, this is more important than ever and #Take10ToRead is an excellent way to reach young people from many different communities across the UK.”

We are inviting everyone to share their Take 10 challenge on social media by using the hashtag #Take10ToRead. Take 10 is part of the National Literacy Trust’s Connecting Stories initiative, which addresses the literacy attainment gap across the UK with Arts Council England and is proudly supported by Birmingham-based company Wesleyan. This comes as part of a sustained partnership between Wesleyan and the National Literacy Trust which focuses on supporting teachers’ wellbeing. This £74,000 project includes sponsorship of Take 10, a new teacher wellbeing platform and support for primary schools in Birmingham.

“Everyone at Birmingham Stories is thrilled to be taking part in Take 10 and love hearing what people across the city have chosen to read! For anyone thinking about how to make small, positive changes that last beyond Mental Health Awareness Week, we know that reading can tangibly boost someone’s wellbeing. “A huge thank you goes to Birmingham-based Wesleyan for funding the activity and helping us to reach as many people as possible.”

Kyle Turakhia, Birmingham Stories Hub Manager

“We are proud of the Wesleyan Foundation’s partnership with The National Literacy Trust. As a financial service mutual for teachers, it is important to us that we support issues that matter most to our customers and inspiring children to read for pleasure and get excited about books is something we absolutely support.”

Nathan Wallis, Chief of Staff at Wesleyan