Nottingham City Council has reached its fundraising target for the Big Reading Challenge – which will see more free books given to children in the city.

City councillors – including the Leader, Cllr David Mellen – spent a week reading to more than 8,300 people at schools, libraries, nurseries and children centres across Nottingham.

Running from Monday 27 January to Sunday 2 February 2020, the Big Reading Challenge raised £5,000 for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – an amazing scheme that delivers a free book every month to children from birth up until the age of five.

The target was reached with donations from the public and businesses – including a generous donation of £1,746 from Nottingham Forest FC.

Cllr Mellen said: “I’m delighted to have reached our fundraising target in such a short space of time. People have been incredibly kind to donate to this worthy cause. The Imagination Library is proven to improve children’s literacy levels, but it relies on donations to make sure we reach as many children as possible in Nottingham.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has supported this appeal, but in particular a special mention must go to Nottingham Forest for coming in at the end of the challenge to make sure we hit the final total.

“It’s important to remember that although this challenge is complete, donations are still needed for the Imagination Library.”

Nottingham Forest Chairman Nicholas Randall QC said: “Nottingham Forest are delighted to back the Big Reading Challenge through this donation. We take our role in the community very seriously and encouraging education and literacy among the younger generation is vitally important.

“For children to receive a free book every month in their early stages of their development will be life changing. The Big Reading Challenge is a fantastic way to raise awareness and raise money to ensure we get more books to the children in Nottingham.”

There are currently more than 5,400 Nottingham children registered with the Imagination Library scheme, but we want to do more. The City Council’s ambition is for every child in Nottingham to get a free book every month.

The Imagination Library was set up in Nottingham in 2011 and is now running successfully in ten of the city’s 20 wards. Supported by Nottingham Rotary Club, Small Steps Big Changes, Trent Vineyard church and hundreds of individual sponsors, more than 5,400 children aged 0 to five currently receive the books each month.

The Big Reading Challenge last year raised £5,000 in 50 days, when Cllr Mellen read stories to more than 6,000 children in the city. This year, the same ambitious target was reached in a much shorter time, while reading to 8,360 people.

Support from local businesses to the Big Reading Challenge included:

-£1,746 Nottingham Forest

-£500 Conygar

-£500 Capital One

-£250 Browne Jacobson

-£250 Mason Info Tech

-£250 Scape Group.

Sharpe’s Coaches also transported children from Greenfields Community School to a special reading session at the Council House.

Cllr Mellen added: “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. Every little helps:

-£2 pays for a child to get a new book

-£25 pays for a new book each month for a year

-£125 pays for a book every month from birth until age five

Details about the Big Reading Challenge can be found on the fundraising page here:

More information about the work of the Imagination Library in Nottingham is available at