Books worth £11,000 gifted to vulnerable Middlesbrough children

09 Apr 2020
Book donation

Middlesbrough Reads has teamed up with the council’s Prevention department to organise a mass book giveaway across the town.

Over 1,800 books, donated by Penguin Random House, will be given to vulnerable children to read during the coronavirus lockdown. The donation from Penguin was worth £11,000 and has enabled us to provide books to vulnerable children of all ages.

The book gifting is part of Middlesbrough Read’s response to the covid-19 outbreak. We have also recently launched a brand new Facebook page so we can continue to support families with educational resources and fun activities. These include a series of Roald Dahl challenges that encourage children to draw inspiration from their surroundings to bring books to life.

Our research shows that book ownership increases the likelihood of a child having good literacy skills, and yet 1 in 8 disadvantaged children do not own a single book. Moreover, children from the poorest backgrounds start school 19 months behind other children and many are unlikely to catch-up – by the age of 34, these children are twice as likely to be unemployed.

The books from Penguin Random House are being distributed among vulnerable children via staff from the local authority. Social workers in Middlesbrough are helping to distribute the books when visiting their families in the town and will be instrumental in getting them into the hands of children. For many of these children, it will be their first book, and this initiative could therefore make a significant impact.

Huge thanks to Penguin Random House and Middlesbrough Council for making this possible.


“I want to say thank you to everyone who has come together to make this happen – it has shown really quick thinking and even quicker acting – and thank you to the National Literacy Trust and Penguin Random House for their huge generosity. Reading has huge benefits for everyone and I hope these books are enjoyed by all who receive them.”

Cllr Barry Cooper, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Education

“We have been fortunate to receive regular donations of books from Penguin Random House over the past few years and I was delighted to be able to work in partnership with the various council departments to ensure these children receive a book during these confusing times. Hopefully these books will inspire children as they venture into another world.”

Allison Potter, Manager for Middlesbrough Reads