Today we are launching the 2022 Vision for Literacy Business Pledge. The award-winning Pledge is now in its seventh year and 88 businesses have committed to working to improve literacy levels in the UK.
We estimate over 3 million children benefited from businesses backing during lockdown, through activities ranging from book donations to community initiatives and funding of essential programmes in light of the disruption to education. The Vision for Literacy Business Pledge shows the difference we can make by working together with businesses, charities, schools, and the government to prioritise literacy skills.
Developed by the National Literacy Forum and supported by KPMG, the Pledge provides a framework for business action in the literacy space to close the literacy gap. Businesses do this by engaging their employees in the literacy challenge, supporting the drive to raise literacy levels in their local communities and contributing to the national campaign to raise literacy levels. The National Literacy Trust will support businesses taking action to improve literacy levels both locally and nationally.
This year, the Pledge held the first annual Business Awards in association with KPMG. The following business were awarded for their continued work to raise literacy levels across the UK:
- Lancôme received the Award for Innovation in recognition of their projects focused on reaching young women. They have funded the innovative Words for Work: Women in Leadership Programme, which by the end of year five will have supported over 5,000 young women. Lancôme also funded the Behind the Cover book club which has reached 1,500 young women and non-binary people, giving them access to free audiobooks and accompanying resources.
- WHSmith received the Award for Impact. Their long-standing relationship and multi-layer partnership with the National Literacy Trust has delivered a huge amount impact in the literacy space. This has included supporting the Young Readers Programme, helping set up the Swindon Hub, providing unrestricted funding and leveraging connections and campaigns. Most notable and impactful this year has been the campaign to end book poverty with Marcus Rashford and Pan Macmillan leading to the introduction of the Marcus Rashford Book Club.
- British Land received the Award for Leadership and are a long-term strategic partner of the National Literacy Trust. They show leadership within the literacy space and inspire other businesses to do the same. The partnership has so far helped 55,722 children across the UK to read for pleasure and improve their literacy skills. During the pandemic, they responded by providing books and educational materials to children most in need of support, benefiting more than 4,000 families.
- Cleary Gottlieb received the Award for Collaboration. They have supported the National Literacy Trust with engaged volunteers, fundraising and programme support. They have shown collaboration by being a founding member of the Leaders for Law group, helping to shape the approach for the group and connect the National Literacy Trust with senior contacts at other law firms.
In the Schools White Paper published yesterday, it is estimated that if 90% of children leave primary school at the expected level for reading and writing then it could be worth at least £30 billion to the UK economy. We look forward to working with all the businesses signed up to this year’s Pledge to help achieve this target and the benefit it will bring to the economy.
For more information about the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge, please email BusinessPledge@literacytrust.co.uk