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News story

More than 1,500 books donated to Peterborough food banks to give the gift of reading this Christmas

20 Dec 2023

Mark Grist and Becky Marrs

The National Literacy Trust in Peterborough has collected more than 1,500 book donations to be distributed to food banks across the city, to give children the gift of reading this Christmas.

All through November, the National Literacy Trust has been collecting donations of brand-new books for children. In total, 1,504 books were generously donated by the public and through support received from publishers, and have now been dropped off at the main warehouse for food banks in the city, where they have been sorted and shared so that Peterborough families can choose a book to take home with their Christmas supplies.

As well as individual donations being dropped off at The Cresset, Metro Bank and Serpentine Green, local schools got involved with the scheme. Medeshamstede Academy and Oundle School asked parents to contribute, with more than 100 books collected.

Medeshamstede Academy

Additionally, Peterborough author Mark Grist contacted the National Literacy Trust after an anonymous donor bought 15 copies of his book, Rhinos Don’t Cry, with the request they all be donated to the appeal. He donated a further two and signed them all with a Christmas message.

This is the fourth year of the city-wide book gifting scheme, which was started to promote book ownership in the city.

The latest research from the National Literacy Trust shows that 16% of children aged 5-8 in the East of England said they didn’t have a book of their own at home. The literacy charity’s Peterborough-based campaign aims to change this, as research consistently links book ownership with increased reading enjoyment and frequency, which can influence a variety of life outcomes.

“All children, regardless of age or background, should have the same opportunities to enjoy reading their own books at home. Thanks to the generosity of Peterborough people, many families who are most impacted by the current cost of living will be able to give their child a gift this Christmas – and it will spark their imagination and open a door to a new world.”

Becky Marrs, Manager for the National Literacy Trust in Peterborough
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