Working with British Land to help promote literacy
For the second year running, we worked with one of our key landlords, British Land, to support the National Literacy Trust’s Young Readers Programme. The programme helps children to develop a love of reading and improve their literacy. This year, British Land expanded the programme from four sites in 2012 to 12 this year. This enabled 3,000 children to participate in reading activities across British Land shopping centres and retail parks in Barnstaple, Basildon, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, London, Oldham, Peterborough, Plymouth, Rotherham, Speke and Stockton-on-Tees.
Children were shown how to make good book choices and then use their new skills to choose three new books to keep. At the eight sites with a WHSmith, WHSmith store managers hosted visits for the children and their teachers to the stores and showed the children how to choose books at the right level and of interest to them. WHSmith store managers hosted visits and donated vouchers to each of the participating schools to boost their library resources. A variety of reading events were also organised featuring guest readers and children’s characters.
Charles Maudsley, Head of Retail for British Land, commented: “Following the success of the 2012 programme, we were delighted to be able to reach 3,000 children this year working with one of our key tenants WHSmith and the National Literacy Trust. We hope that helping children develop a love of reading at a young age will give them a lifetime of pleasure and opportunity.”
Following the school visit to WHSmith’s Teesside Park store, store manager Dave Brown talked about how successful the event had been: “We really enjoy hosting the school visits and this year included a behind-the-scenes tour of the shop which the children loved. This initiative helps to lift the profile of the store in the community in a positive way. My staff tell me they are proud to say they work at WHSmith Teesside Park.”