The initiative was made possible with a £128,000 donation from the Enterprise Holdings Foundation as part of the US$55 million global ROAD Forward initiative that promotes social and racial equity projects across the world.
"Around one in 11 children from lower income families don’t have a book of their own at home," National Literacy Trust Director of Development Darranda Rowswell said. "Reading is not just great fun, but it’s a vital skill and we want all children to love reading. Children and young people who enjoy reading and who read frequently are better readers, helping them to realise their fullest potential at school and in life.
"This book donation is one more important step in our literacy recovery program to address the educational issues caused by the pandemic and will help the children who need it most. We’re so happy that Enterprise was able to support us in this program which will see thousands of children benefitting from this exciting book."
Simon Caughey-Rogers, Enterprise’s Corporate Social Responsibility and Charity Events Manager, said the partnership with the National Literacy Trust has had enormous support from the whole of the company.
"Many of our super star employees also struggled with reading at school," he added. "Every child should get the support they need to be their best and we hope this initiative will go a little way to helping more children get the resources they need. We are really looking forward to their feedback and excited to see how they get on with the book."
Research from the CLPE in 2020 revealed that only 8% of children’s books featured an ethnic minority leading character. Serena Patel’s book was chosen to inspire children who may not usually see themselves represented in the books they read.
Patel said she supported the National Literacy Trust's campaign to promote reading for pleasure and was delighted that her book was playing an important part in the program.
"I was thrilled when I heard that Enterprise and the National Literacy Trust were coming together for this initiative to gift books to children in primary schools," she said. "The lockdowns have been tough for everyone and so being part of such a positive, inspiring project is a massive privilege. I couldn't be prouder that Anisha will be helping encourage children to discover the excitement of reading. Huge thanks to Enterprise for making it happen and for supporting young readers all over the country."
Enterprise’s ROAD (Respect, Opportunity, Achievement, Diversity) Forward program is a global initiative launched by the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, aimed at strengthening and supporting the communities where the company operates. It provides funding to projects that open opportunity for people who lack of access to resources in education, health and wellbeing.
The Enterprise Holdings Foundation was established in 1982 to give back to the communities where partners and employees live and work.
Social mobility is core to Enterprise’s hiring and development strategy. The company was recently awarded Organization of the Year and Progression Program of the Year at the UK Social Mobility Awards (SOMOs).
List of schools and timings taking part in the road trip:
Belfast – Dec. 6
Cranmore Integrated Primary School, Finaghy Rd N, Belfast, BT10 0JB
Glasgow – Dec. 7
Broomhill Primary School, 57 Edgehill Road, Glasgow, G11 7HZ
Edinburgh – Dec. 7
Hermitage Park Primary School, Hermitage Park, Edinburgh, EH6 8HD
Bradford – Dec. 8
Whetley Academy Primary, Whetley Lane, Bradford, BD8 9HZ
Manchester – Dec. 8
Claremont Primary School, Claremont Road, Manchester, M14 7NA
Birmingham – Dec. 9
Heathfield Primary School, Heathfield Road, Birmingham, B19 1HJ
Bristol – Dec. 9
Cabot Primary School, Halston Drive, Bristol, BS2 9JE
London – Dec. 10
Olive School, 32 St Johns Church Road, Hackney, London, E9 6EJ