It’s been a bumper year for donations to the book-gifting charity Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, with Nottingham City Council and partners helping to raise more than £24,000.
Thanks to the public, staff at the council, the Rotary Club, Nottingham Playhouse, Intu Broadmarsh, Hockley Hustle and the current Sheriff of Nottingham, Cllr Jackie Morris, a total of £24,250 has been collected in just one year to give books to Nottingham children.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library delivers a free book for children to keep and read with their family every month.
The charity first came to the city in 2009 because of Cheryl Mitchell, a teaching assistant in Wollaton. Thanks to the Rotary Club, Small Steps, Big Changes, and Castle Cavendish, children in parts of Bilborough, Arboretum, Aspley, Bulwell, St Ann’s, Radford, parts of Wollaton Dunkirk/Lenton and Hyson Green, are benefitting from the charity.
In the past four years, £213,000 has been raised across the city – that’s enough to give out more than 100,000 books. The charity has so far delivered nearly 50,000 books to local children. The money raised ensures that these youngsters will continue to get the books until their 5th birthday.
To celebrate the UNESCO International Literacy Day (Thursday 8 September) and the year Nottingham is named as a UNESCO City of Literature, partners are encouraging people to donate even more money and make sure EVERY Nottingham child can be a part of this charity.
Local data shows that Nottingham children are likely to start school with reading skills up to 14% behind the national average. The Imagination Library is proven to improve the literacy of children; a new study found those who are consistently enrolled are 28.9% more likely to be ready for school at age five than those children who aren’t.
Already in the city 2,575 children are signed up, but to spread the scheme across the whole city donations are needed from businesses and members of the public.
Councillor David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Early Intervention and Early Years, said: “We have a number of children in Nottingham living in households where incomes are limited and books may not be seen as a priority. We know books can be expensive and this is a way of bringing books into the home and allowing children to grow up surrounded by literature and stories.
“We are still looking for funding, and getting more sponsorship would be great. We’re really grateful to everyone who supports the charity already. You can see the value of what that provides. All the money we get is spent on books for the children.
“We know that reading changes lives by opening up a whole world of opportunities for young people. It’s really important that parents spend time reading with their children, and by supporting Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library we want to inspire a love of books.”
Kirsteen Watson, Regional Director of Dollywood Foundation UK, said: “The success of the Imagination Library is based on our partnerships. Joining Dolly’s vision, key partners have come together with a selfless spirit and common passion to make the Imagination Library possible for thousands of children.
“Children who receive a monthly book in the post get excited about it, they want to share their books at home with their parents/carers and siblings. They provide a focus for some special time together to enjoy the stories, and help to build speech, communication and language skills. This not only helps prepare children for school but also helps parent/child attachment as well as helping children to use their imaginations and see the world through someone else’s eyes. Therein lies the power and magic within a single book”
To donate to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library go to www.dollybooksnottingham.org