Our National Literacy Trust Hub in Middlesbrough has partnered with South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Middlesbrough Council to hand out 3,000 free reading packs to new mums and children who are inpatients at a local hospital.
As research by the World Health Organisation found that better literacy leads to healthier children, the collaboration aims to improve both health and literacy outcomes for children in the area.
The reading packs were launched at The James Cook University Hospital last week and each contain a story book, an activity book and colouring pencils, as well as tips for parents on how to support their child’s literacy development and information on library membership. As volunteers from the hospital hand out the packs, they will talk to parents about the importance of reading together as a family and encouraging children to read for enjoyment.
Allison Potter, Manager of the National Literary Trust Hub in Middlesbrough, said:
“A child’s stay in hospital is a very anxious time for families and the simple pleasures of reading and sharing stories can bring some comfort during the long hours spent at their child’s bedside.
"This is a pioneering initiative supported by dedicated volunteers which is providing fantastic literacy support to thousands of families. The Hub strives to build strong long-term partnerships with local services and we are delighted to be working with public health services and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.”
The National Literacy Trust Hub in Middlesbrough works in partnership with Middlesbrough Council and other local organisations such as South Tees, Bliss, Holme House Prison, High Tide Foundation and Middlesbrough Football Foundation. It aims to raise awareness of the importance of literacy support in the area to create long-term change where low literacy levels seriously impact on people’s lives.
At the launch event on Friday, the volunteers handed out packs to young patients whilst local author, Faye Hanson enchanted children with storytelling and drawing sessions using her book ‘The Wonder’.