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A new scheme aims to help children in Woodley keep on reading during lockdown

A NEW scheme launched to help children have access to quality reading materials during lockdown has been such a success that the organiser is hoping it will spread across the borough.

The Great Woodley Book Share launched earlier this month in response to bookshops, libraries and charity stores closing their doors due to the coronavirus.

Organiser Shirley Boyt, who is also a borough councillor for Bulmershe and Whitegates, has been a volunteer for the Woodley Lunch Bunch.

This scheme provides meals during holidays for families who would otherwise receive free school meals.

She said that the closures mean that for many families there is a restriction on places where they can access reading material, something that could affect their child’s progress.

The scheme welcomed donations of good quality children’s books, which are then passed on to avid young readers – and people have donated in their droves.

“I am overwhelmed,” Cllr Boyt said. “There are more books than I can shake a stick at.

“They are being sorted out into age categories, ensuring they are in good condition, and then they are being shared on social media.

“If people want them, they can let me know and I can drop them round.”

The idea, she explained, came from a desire to ensure children were still able to read.

“I had read articles in the paper about how concerned education charities are about how lockdown is setting back children’s reading, especially from low-income families.

“Libraries are closed, charity shops are closed, suddenly all the places they’d use have gone. It’s OK for people who can shop online, but there must be loads and loads of families having a clearout and have books at home that people have grown out of.”

The success of the scheme has delighted Cllr Boyt, that she feels it could be adapted by other groups who are helping vulnerable families during the pandemic.

“The more (groups offer this) the merrier really,” she said.

For more details, search for the Great Woodley Book Share on Facebook.

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