Councillor David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Early Intervention and Early Years at Nottingham City Council, is launching his Big Reading Challenge – aiming to read to 5,000 children in 50 days.

Running from 28 January to 18 March 2019, Cllr Mellen’s challenge will aim to raise £5,000 to give free books to children in the city through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. It follows his first challenge in January 2018 when Cllr Mellen read to 2,018 children in one month.

This year, he will read to school classes and assemblies, nursery groups and library groups, children’s centres and children in hospital. The first day of the challenge will take place at the top of Green’s Windmill in Sneinton with children from neighbouring Sneinton CofE Primary School.

All funds raised by the Big Reading Challenge will go to the Imagination Library – an amazing scheme that delivers a free book every month to children from birth to five years old.

Councillor Mellen said: “Our children deserve the best possible start in life. We know that reading with children is one of the best ways to set them up for a bright future.

“Unfortunately in Nottingham, too many of our children start school behind the expected literacy levels. The Imagination Library is proven to change this.

“This charity ensures that every child receives a free book every month. It’s about giving our children the joy of reading.”

The Imagination Library is proven to improve children’s literacy levels so that they are 28% more likely to be ready to start school when they turn five. The scheme in Nottingham was set up in 2009 and is now running successfully in 10 of the city’s 20 wards.

Cllr Mellen added: “I am delighted the Imagination Library is now running in 10 wards across the city, but we want to go further and roll it out to all children living in Nottingham, making sure every child benefits from receiving a free book every month. To do this, the charity desperately needs more funds.

“Reading to 5,000 children over 50 days is an ambitious challenge but it’s a cause I feel strongly about. I hope that I am able to raise funds to give even more children the best start in life.”

Cllr Mellen is asking for sponsorship money and is hoping to raise at least £5,000 for the Imagination Library. Every donation helps:

  • £2 can pay for a child to get a new book
  • £25 can pay for a child to get a new book each month for a year
  • £125 pays for a child to get a book every month from birth until their 5th birthday

Councillor Mellen’s fundraising page is found here: