Nottingham City Council is holding another Big Reading Challenge in a bid to raise funds for a charity that gives free books to children in the city.
The Leader of the Council, Cllr David Mellen, and Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People and Schools, Cllr Cheryl Barnard, along with other councillors and officers, will be reading stories to children in dozens of schools, nurseries and libraries across Nottingham.
Running for seven days from Monday 30 January to Sunday 5 February 2023, the Big Reading Challenge aims to raise more than £5,000 for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library: an amazing scheme that delivers a free book every month to local children from birth up to five years of age.
Cllr Mellen and Cllr Barnard will launch the challenge on Monday 30 January by reading to a class of children from Welbeck Primary School inside the Leader’s Office at the council’s Loxley House headquarters.
A special ‘Stories by Candlelight’ session will be held in the Council House in Old Market Square as part of Light Night on Friday 3 February from 5pm to 7pm. School children will also read to local business leaders as part of a Business Breakfast at the Council House on Thursday 2 February.
Cllr Mellen said: “The Imagination Library improves children’s literacy levels. There are currently more than 6,000 Nottingham children registered with the scheme and a further 4,000 have already graduated from the scheme, but we want to do more. Our ambition is for every child in Nottingham to get a free book every month, but we need to raise funds to make this happen.
“Every time I undertake the Big Reading Challenge, I see first-hand the impact that reading stories has on children. I see their faces light up and their imaginations ignite.
“I know that times are hard and that we are all facing a cost-of-living crisis, but that just means we all need to dig a little deeper and go the extra mile for a good cause like this. We’re asking for as many people as possible to support us, so the Imagination Library can continue to give Nottingham children the best start in life.”
The Council’s involvement with the Imagination Library started in 2011, following a ‘Year of Reading’, and the scheme is now running successfully in ten of the city’s 20 wards – supported by Nottingham Rotary Club, Small Steps Big Changes and hundreds of individual sponsors.
Cllr Barnard said: “Reading is so important to children in our city – but we need help to make this happen.
“By getting books, our children are more likely to be ready to start school when they turn five. We know that reading with children is one of the best ways to set them up for a bright future.”
The Imagination Library in Nottingham relies on donations to help parents and children enjoy exploring books together. Every little helps:
- £2 pays for a child to get a new book
- £25 pays for a new book every month for a year
- £125 pays for a new book every month from birth until age five.
To support this year’s Big Reading Challenge, please visit the fundraising page at www.gofundme.com/f/bigreadingchallenge2023.
For more information about the Imagination Library in Nottingham, please visit the website at www.dollybooksnottingham.org.
Councillor Mellen is pictured with schoolchildren during a previous Big Reading Challenge event at Green’s Windmill, in Sneinton.