Drake Circus has gifted bundles of popular children’s books and engaging activity booklets to the Oasis Project to support families in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
300 children’s books have been shared with local families, including Gargantis by Thomas Taylor and Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, along with free activity booklets filled with fun and educational worksheets based on familiar fictional characters such as Alex Rider, Judy Moody and Maisy Mouse.
Maria Mills MB from the Oasis Project said: “It’s been great to give families who access our services these wonderful books and activity booklets. We know the children will greatly benefit from these and we hope that they will help encourage families to share quality time together.”
This new initiative is led by Drake Circus’ owner, British Land, and the National Literacy Trust. It follows a long-running partnership to help encourage children to enjoy reading outside of the classroom and to provide them with the resources to do so.
Recent research from the National Literacy Trust reveals that children who own their own books are happier. Yet, 1 in 11 children and young people in the UK don’t have a book of their own at home. With many children not attending school due to Covid-19, this project aims to help tackle the problem and give local families brand-new books and educational materials.
Greg Lumley, centre director at Drake Circus, added: “Encouraging children to love to read and giving them access to their own books is so important, especially at this particularly difficult time.
“We’re really pleased to be able to continue to work with the National Literacy Trust to support amazing local organisations like the Oasis Project.”
As part of British Land’s partnership with the National Literacy Trust, families in Plymouth also have free access to virtual storytelling sessions which support children’s listening and creative skills and help to spark a love of stories.
The ‘Young Readers Story Club’ videos feature professional storytellers sharing different stories each week, including award-winning children’s poet Dominic Berry and the storyteller Amanda Edmiston.
Local schools have been given exclusive ‘first look’ access to the videos before they are made available for local families to view on the National Literacy Trust’s Family Zone website.
Jonathan Douglas, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust, said: “Books have the power to enrich children’s lives – they fuel imaginations, help children learn new things and support mental wellbeing. Yet hundreds of thousands of children across the UK are missing out on these benefits at a time when they need them most, simply because they don’t have a book of their own.
“By bringing the magical world of stories into children’s homes through brand new books, activity booklets and incredible storytelling videos, this initiative will provide much needed inspiration and comfort during a time of uncertainty.”
 National Literacy Trust (2018) – Book ownership, literacy engagement and mental wellbeing
 National Literacy Trust (2019) – Gift of reading: Children’s book ownership in 2019