Charity welcomes £373,000 investment to improve the lives of children in the North West 

Announced in 2017, The Reader was delighted earlier today to welcome a major investment from the Steve Morgan Foundation which will significantly improve the life chances of children living across the North West by building a culture of reading for pleasure that will empower them for life.  

Representatives from The Reader, the Steve Morgan Foundation and Home-Start

According to UNESCO “Reading for pleasure is one of the most important things that will make a child successful in life, with a greater impact than a parent’s level of education or how many books there are in the home. The Literacy and Life Expectancy report published earlier this year also highlighted a 25-year life expectancy disparity between communities with the most and fewest literacy challenges, with research from National Literacy Trust identifying parts of Liverpool, Wirral and Knowsley to have particular vulnerability.  

The investment from the Steve Morgan Foundation will enable The Reader to expand a sustainable and vibrant families programme across the North West, building on its work with nurseries and visitors to The Storybarn, their interactive story centre. Working with a range of organisations across the region, The Reader will embed Shared Reading into public provision for families most in need, by providing training and support for staff and volunteers at a grassroots level.  

By supporting partners to create a culture of reading for pleasure within their services, The Reader aims to create a legacy that will benefit families for the long-term. The charity’s founder and director Jane Davis said: “We were thrilled to announce last year that we were successful in our application for grant funding from the Steve Morgan Foundation and we’re delighted that the project is now underway. By working with partners across the North West, such as Home-Start, we have an incredible opportunity to transform the lives, not just of children here today in Southport, but right across the region, for generations to come. 

They say, give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, but teach him how to fish and he’ll never go hungry. That’s what The Reader’s family programme will do. Providing access to books is one thing, but inspiring and building the confidence of parents, carers, parents-to-be, and people who work with children day-in, day-out, creating a culture of reading for pleasure, that’s how we can transform lives for years to come. 

Presenting the cheque on behalf of the Steve Morgan Foundation, director of regional funding Jane Harris said: “We first worked with The Reader back in 2010 and we’re delighted that they are the first recipient of one of our new Major Grants for uplift funding. The Trustees were very by impressed the team and their entrepreneurial approach to what they are trying to achieve. They do an outstanding job and we are delighted to be able to fund the Families Programme for the next three years. 

The presentation took place earlier today at a Family Group session run by Home-Start Southport and Formby, just one of the groups which will benefit from this investment. Annie Ives, operations manager at the Southport and Formby Home-Start said: “We’re delighted to partner with The Reader on this fantastic project. This is something we can bring to Home-Start Centres across the region so that families in Knowsley, Wirral and Southport will benefit. It’s so important to for parents and carers to foster that love of reading, this programme will give them the skills and the confidence to do just that.” 

For over a decade The Reader has been delivering Shared Reading groups to people of all ages and backgrounds, a deceptively simple model which improves health and well-being, reduces social isolation and builds stronger, more supportive communities.  

The Reader is keen to work with a diverse range of organisations across the North West to bring the benefits of this programme to as many families as possible, contact childrenandyoungpeople@thereader.org.uk for more information. 

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