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

More than 3,000 children in Suffolk tuned into a digital event which saw Ant & Dec introduce more than 55,000 pupils nationwide to Propa Happy (Farshore Books), their debut book supporting children to nurture their wellbeing every day, with author proceeds going to the NSPCC.

At 10am on Tuesday 10 May, TV presenters Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly encouraged children, communities, and businesses all over the country 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.

Ant & 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! 3,207 Suffolk pupils were encouraged to give it a go themselves and have the chance to submit their work to the Propa Happy Pass the Positivity Campaign by 20 May at www.propahappy.co.uk.

The National Literacy Trust already has a close relationship with Suffolk; the charity partnered with the county council to launch Get Suffolk Reading in September 2021, with aims to increase parental engagement in family homes, to support wellbeing through storytelling and to encourage aspiration among primary school children.

Alongside the schools’ event with Ant & Dec, Suffolk put on several community events to encourage local families to join the #Take10ToRead challenge.

  • In Lowestoft, a reading corner was launched at the Water Lane Leisure Centre, sponsored by Waterstones. Other sponsorship opportunities for reading corners elsewhere in Lowestoft are available.
  • In Haverhill, organisations and businesses were gifted book packs and biscuits to encourage ‘taking 10’ in the staff room, sharing books and looking out for wellbeing.
  • Stowmarket families were invited to relax and read between 9.30am and 11.30am at Caf on the Rec, with a range of books, activity packs and information on health and wellbeing handed out for free to mark #Take10ToRead. Northfield St Nicholas Primary School also helped launch ‘Nook for a Book’, which encourages children and families to find a suitable place for reading.
  • And entries are still open for the county-wide #Take10ToRead challenge for a chance to welcome a visit from Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing to a Suffolk school or organisation in October. Entrants must submit a photo of their little ones reading to a pet or a cuddly toy to the Get Suffolk Reading Facebook page by Monday 16 May – full terms and conditions are here.

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 take 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 given 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 10 minutes 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.”

“Take 10 is a campaign that is very close to our hearts at the National Literacy Trust – supporting children in their mental health and wellbeing through the simple act of taking 10 minutes every day to read. It is brilliant that over 3,000 children in Suffolk joined superstars Ant & Dec to drop everything and read together at the exact same time, and we were thrilled to put on additional community events in the area to encourage more children and their families to be inspired by Take 10 and start reading for pleasure every day.”

Sarah Olley, Get Suffolk Reading Project Manager

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.

Ant & Dec’s Propa Happy is out on 26 May and is available from all good bookshops and online. To find out more about the book and take part in the Pass the Positivity campaign visit propahappy.com.