Working with British Land to find 3,000 novel ways to support the National Literacy Trust
In Spring 2012, we started a new partnership with one of our key landlords, British Land, to support the National Literacy Trust’s Young Readers Programme. In all, 11 schools participated from four communities close to British Land shopping centres and WHSmith stores in Glasgow (Glasgow Fort Shopping Park), Speke (New Mersey Shopping Park), Rotherham (Parkgate Shopping) and Stockton-on-Tees (Teesside Shopping Park). Over 1,000 children made bespoke visits to the shopping parks to take part in reading events featuring guest readers and children’s characters. At the events, the children were shown how to make good book choices and then use their new skills to choose three new books to keep.
WHSmith store teams at each of the four shopping parks hosted visits for the children and their teachers, encouraging the children to explore the £1 books produced exclusively for World Book Day 2012, as well as the wide variety of children’s reading available. WHSmith also donated vouchers to the participating schools to help them boost the school’s library resources.
Ben Grose, Head of Asset Management for British Land, commented: “As the UK’s largest retail landlord, British Land is delighted to be working with one of our key tenants, WHSmith, and the National Literacy Trust to encourage children to fall in love with reading. The three key ingredients of the programme are enjoyment, choice and ownership.
The programme was delivered with the active involvement of the local centre management teams and is great for helping families see how accessible books can be and show them that children can buy and enjoy books for themselves at an early age, giving them lifelong pleasure and opportunities.”
Rachel Russell, Books Director for WHSmith, also welcomed the new partnership, commenting: “WHSmith has been a supporter of the National Literacy Trust for many years and we were pleased to have the opportunity to extend our work with the Young Readers Programme through this new partnership with British Land. Our staff were delighted to welcome the 1,000 schoolchildren into our stores to join in the World Book Day celebrations and start to discover the pleasure of reading.”
The National Literacy Trust were supportive of the new partnership approach between WHSmith and British Land with Caroline Sence, who manages the programme for the National Literacy Trust commenting, “One in three children in the UK does not own a book of their own. Our nationwide programme, with support from British Land and WHSmith, aims to tackle this deprivation in the most practical way.”