Nottingham City Council has raised a record-breaking amount for its Big Reading Challenge this year, meaning more free books for children in the city.

The Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People, Cllr Cheryl Barnard and Leader, Cllr David Mellen, along with other councillors and officers, spent a week reading to over 1,200 children in schools, nurseries and playgroups across Nottingham.

Reading sessions also took place under the skeleton of Titus the T. rex at Wollaton Hall, in the Council House ball room and on the top deck of a Nottingham City Transport biogas bus.

Running from Monday 22 to Friday 26 November 2021, this year’s Big Reading Challenge quadrupled its target of raising more than £5,000 for the Imagination Library in Nottingham – an amazing scheme that delivers a free book every month to local children from birth up to five years of age.

In total, over £20,000 was donated by the public and local businesses, including an especially generous donation of £12,500 – enough to support 100 children through the scheme – from Domlal Foundation.

Cllr Barnard said: “People have been incredibly kind to donate to this worthy cause, and we are delighted to have raised a record-breaking amount this year.

“We’d like to thank everyone who has supported the Big Reading Challenge 2021; however, it’s important to remember that, although this year’s Challenge is complete, regular donations are needed for the Imagination Library to continue its important work in our city.”

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, more than 5,600 children aged 0–5 currently receive the books each month.

Support for the Big Reading Challenge 2021 from local businesses included:

  • Adelanta Travel Services
  • Arup Nottingham
  • Browne Jacobson LLP
  • Conygar
  • Crowne Plaza Nottingham
  • DHP Family
  • Gourmet Coffee Bar & Kitchen
  • Innes England
  • Mason Infotech
  • Nottingham City Business Club
  • Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club
  • Paragon Law
  • Paul Smith
  • Ryley Wealth Management

Nottingham City Transport also kindly transported children from Greenfields Community School in the Meadows to a special reading session at the Council House.

Cllr Mellen added: “Every year, the Big Reading Challenge highlights the importance of reading with children while raising vital funds. Not only does reading help with getting children ready for school, improving literacy and numeracy; it also improves their general communication skills and benefits their wellbeing.

“Please consider becoming a regular supporter of the Imagination Library, so we can continue to give Nottingham children the best start in life.”

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.

For more information about the Imagination Library in Nottingham, and to set up a regular donation, please visit the website at

For more information about the Big Reading Challenge 2021, please visit the fundraising page at