City Council Leader Cllr Jon Collins is hoping that completing a gruelling Pennine Way challenge will mean that reading isn’t such an uphill struggle for some local children.

He is looking for more donations to send him on his way to complete a marathon-a-day challenge in aid of a children’s reading charity.

Cllr Collins sets off this Friday (24 August) from Edale in Derbyshire, walking the 267-mile Pennine Way to Kirk Yeltholm in Scotland at an average of around 26 miles a day.

It’s all to raise funds for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library – a book-gifting scheme which provides a free book every month to children from birth to aged five. The City Council has forged strong links with the Imagination Library, which is now running in nine of the city’s 20 wards – but more funds are needed to extend it to the remaining 11 city wards.

In Nottingham children can start with reading skills 14% behind the national average – but with the books provided by the Imagination Library, children are 28.8% more likely to be ready for school by their fifth birthday. This in turn improves their chances of leaving school with better grades aged 16.

Councillor Collins said: “There can be nothing more important than giving our local children the best possible start in life and the Imagination Library is playing a big part in that by helping to ignite an early love of books which leads to improved skills like listening, concentrating, talking about new ideas and using their imaginations.

“I think it’s this, and the money I’m raising to bring this opportunity to even more local children, that will keep me going on what is going to be a tough challenge. I’m really pleased with the generous response I’ve had so far, but I’m hoping even more people will help me reach my increased target of £5340 – the equivalent of £20 for each mile I walk. That equates to over 200 children getting a new book a month for a year.”

Anyone wishing to donate can do so at this Just Giving page: