To date we have gifted to 85 schools and organisations across London. Our core aim is to address the disparity of book ownership amongst children and young people in London. At present one in eight disadvantaged children owns no books of his or her own, whilst one in four owns fewer than ten books*.
We help to address this book gap by gifting good quality, gently used books to children within communities with a high level of disadvantage. We work with schools that support > 25% pupil premium (a measure of disadvantage) but also with organisations that target discrete groups in need.
However, alongside this we also want to support reading communities and to foster enjoyable and immersive gifting events. We believe that a child will engage strongly with a book that he or she has chosen for themselves and that they can take home and keep. We work with settings to help them deliver creative, memorable gifting events that elevate books from their second-hand status to something desirable.
WHERE WE GIFT
In the past 18 months we have gifted to 42 schools and organisations across London. This figure increases every 6 weeks as we rotate our Pop Up Book Huts to a new audience and launch new Pop Up Bookshops.
The following map details the women’s groups, food banks, nurseries, schools and a prison that have gifted books to their community with our support.
We gift to settings with >25% pupil premium. Outside schools the settings that we work with commonly support 100% pupil premium.
In our first 18 months we gifted to 40,314 babies, children and young people. At least 30,500 of these children live in economic disadvantage.
TARGETING THE RIGHT AUDIENCE
We support settings that support a community with an above average percentage of pupil premium (an amount paid to a school on behalf of every child whose net household income is lower than £7,500).
In schools nationwide the average % pupil premium is 24.7%. Amongst the schools that we have supported since launch the average % pupil premium is 43.4%.
Gifting to every child in each community we support means that books are sometimes gifted to young people that already have books of their own. However universal gifting reinforces reading communities and collectively celebrates the books on offer. Children aren’t singled out as being in need and do not feel judged in any way.
REACHING A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF YOUNG PEOPLE
We work with a wide variety of settings but most closely with primary schools across London. This route permits us to reach large numbers of young people within a dynamic environment that can tailor activity to their interests and abilities.
Practitioners in each school design gifting activities that resonate strongly with children whilst their wider relationships with parents and carers ensure the greatest reach.
“The best thing about our Pop Up Book Hut was the dialogue between parents and carers and children about the books they discovered inside.”
In eighteen months we have also gifted to a number of groups that support vulnerable mothers, to a number of pre-school groups, to a prison family liaison event and to a foodbank. These settings reach a smaller number of young people but the need they support is significant.
OFFERING A RELEVANT PRODUCT
Our Pop Up Book Huts and Pop Up Bookshops have been designed to appeal to young people aged 5-11 and to work flexibly within the widest range of settings. Continuous feedback from schools helps us to develop these models.
We run creative focus groups in schools to help design our Pop Up Bookshop content and other gifting activities.
ASKING FOR FEEDBACK
Every setting that receives books is asked to complete a short questionnaire detailing the perceived impact of their gifting event within their community. Key outputs from the latest data-set follow.
“The children talked about the bookshop and the books they chose for a long time afterwards. We had groups of children agreeing to swap books after they finished reading their own book. These children previously found reading boring.”
“We were thoroughly surprised and grateful at the amount and wide range of quality texts! The children enjoyed visiting the book hut during the school day, having a chance to explore, read together and then sharing their new favourites with their classmates. It was great to see the children getting excited about choosing and sharing the books.”
“It has been fantastic to see children of all abilities from all year groups discussing books with each other, making recommendations and visibly enjoying reading. For some of our children, the books taken from the hut were the first ones they’ve ever owned. We had many questions of “do we really get to keep it”?”