Bradford Bulls’ Robbie Hunter-Paul to support Bradford Literacy Campaign at opening of new Boots Opticians Bradford

03 Nov 2015

The boss of popular rugby league club, the Bradford Bulls, will be promoting the joy of reading to support an exciting partnership between the Bradford Literacy Campaign and Boots Opticians in Bradford.

Chief Executive of the Bradford Bulls, Robbie Hunter-Paul will read stories to children and distribute free books on behalf of the Bradford Literacy Campaign in the Boots Opticians practice at Broadway Bradford, a new Westfield shopping   centre which opens on Thursday 5 November. Children will also be encouraged to contribute to the ‘I love reading because…’ display in the store.

Mr Hunter-Paul’s visit is to highlight the work of the Bradford Literacy Campaign. This campaign is a National Literacy Trust initiative which works in partnership with Bradford Council and other local partners, including Bradford Bulls and Boots Opticians in Bradford to raise literacy levels in the district.

In May 2015, the National Literacy Trust and Boots Opticians launched a pioneering partnership to highlight the links between eye health and literacy. Aimed at improving the literacy outcomes of the UK’s most disadvantaged children, the first stage of the partnership is underway with Boots Opticians colleagues volunteering for specific National Literacy Trust initiatives including the Schools Challenge. 

Boots Opticians colleagues visited Girlington Primary school for the Schools Challenge, and while in the school, they spent time with pupils, promoting reading for enjoyment and the importance of regular eye tests.

Colleagues at Boots Opticians in Bradford have also linked the national partnership to the Bradford Literacy Campaign by creating a library corner in their practice where children can discover new books while they wait for their appointment. They are also displaying Bradford Literacy Campaign posters, which promote the importance of reading together as a family, and copies of the campaign’s Bradford walk and talk trail quiz a literacy boosting activity which encourages families to visit the National Media Museum and join their local library.

Bradford Bulls have supported the Bradford Literacy Campaign from the start. Their mascot, Bullman, was at the official launch event in October 2014 and Robbie Hunter-Paul sent a picture of himself reading to his young son to encourage other dads to do the same for the initiative’s Father’s Day reading selfie campaign, a gallery of which was published in the Telegraph & Argus’ website

Robbie Hunter-Paul said: “Books are a big part of my family life – sharing a story with my son is a fun way to connect with him while developing his literacy skills at the same time, so I’m supporting the Bradford Literacy Campaign because I want to inspire other parents and carers to make books part of their daily routine at home. Boots Opticians in Bradford are doing a fantastic job of promoting the joy of reading in and outside their practice.” 

Sally Allatt, Practice Manager at Boots Opticians in Bradford said: “We’re delighted that Robbie Hunter-Paul will be celebrating the opening of our new practice. He is such a fantastic role model who is passionate about sharing stories with children from a young age.

 “We want to do all we can to promote the importance of literacy in Bradford. Our library corner is already a great hit with families and working with local schools like Girlington Primary School to share our enthusiasm for books and raise awareness of the importance of eye health is a wonderful experience.”

Imran Hafeez, National Literacy Trust Hub Manager said:“We’re delighted that Boots Opticians in Bradford have really embraced this partnership to support the National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford. It’s great to see such enthusiasm from the staff at the practice who are helping to embed literacy support in the community.”

It is estimated that around one million children have an undiagnosed vision problem, with research showing that people from areas of deprivation are likely to delay eye test attendance due to concerns about the cost of glasses, which can prevent early detection and timely referral.