83 leading businesses have committed to taking action this year to improve literacy levels across the country and help secure the economic future of the next generation. Since 2016, the number of signatories has over doubled in size. Amongst new signatories this year are; Octopus Energy, the Bupa Foundation, Mott MacDonald and International Paper.
This is the sixth year of a cross-sector initiative to encourage business support for increasing literacy levels in the UK. Developed by the National Literacy Forum (19 literacy and child poverty charities) and supported by KPMG, the Pledge provides a framework for business action in the literacy space to close the literacy gap and safeguard children’s futures.
With research from KPMG estimating that literacy failure costs the UK economy £2.5 billion each year, improving literacy skills will be key in the post COVID-19 social and economic recovery. The National Literacy Trust will support businesses take action to improve literacy levels both locally and nationally.
Last year, the Pledge resulted in a number of excellent business initiatives, including:
- The National Literacy Trust worked closely with real estate partner British Land to adapt the Young Readers Programme, ensuring that children were still able to benefit despite school closures. British Land also connected the National Literacy Trust with their local teams at 20 UK locations, and donated 6,000 books and 3,000 literacy activity packs through local food banks during lockdown.
- The McDonald’s Happy Readers scheme, where toys are replaced with books for a six-week period annually, has run for the past eight years and will now take place all year round. McDonald’s also distributed 2,500 books to local charities such as Fareshare, to help bring books to families in the greatest need over the summer.
- During lockdown, Bloomsbury launched Katherine Rundell’s The Book of Hopes, a free online collection of new short stories, poems and pictures from more than 110 writers and illustrators to comfort and inspire children during lockdown. It was hosted exclusively on the National Literacy Trust’s Family Zone website and connected over 100,000 families to the website, where they could access even more literacy support.
We are looking forward to working with businesses this year on a range of activity to help drive up literacy levels across the UK.
For more information about the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge, please email BusinessPledge@literacytrust.co.uk