The Big Give – Champions For Children

7th June 2022

Little girl holding a book and smiling

Improving children’s life chances through reading

Reading creates transformational opportunities. It empowers young people to create the future they deserve by developing the skills they need to be able to reach their full potential. Fighting inequality in education since 2010, we bring the gift of books and the joy of reading directly into homes.

The Childhood Trust’s ‘Champions for Children advocacy campaign’, this year, focuses on children’s mental health as a result of the cost-of-living crisis and what this means for them. Their latest research ‘Hungry, Anxious and Stressed’ found that families will only face further insecurities in the months to come and this is also being felt by the children in the household.

With your help, we will be able to bring the joy of reading to even more children. During this week, any donation you make via The Big Give campaign will be matched up to £40,000. With your support, our volunteers can head out with their backpacks filled with books, or open their laptops, and change children’s stories in a fundamental way.

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Campaign overview

Situation

The reading skills of children from less affluent backgrounds are on average almost three years behind those from the most affluent homes by the time they leave compulsory schooling. Lockdown and the pandemic has accelerated educational inequality at an alarming rate – in the summer of 2020, only 43% of disadvantaged pupils in primary school had met age-related expectations for reading, compared to 63% of their peers. We work to ‘level the playing field’ by encouraging reading for pleasure.

Solution

Children who read for pleasure at a young age feel the benefits now and throughout their lives. Once a week, after school, our volunteers will provide regular, personalised reading sessions, in homes or via our Online Reading Corner. Trained volunteers will deliver interactive sessions with parents and children, supporting them in discovering inspiring stories together and instilling a life-long love of reading. We aim to expand both our delivery models to work with as many families as possible.

“Mum mentioned to volunteers that teachers at her child’s school had asked whether she had been getting private tuition for him for reading because he had improved so much! She said no, it’s from Doorstep Library visits.”

— Volunteer

Aims

  • To run 20,000 shared reading sessions with children in London (working with at least 700 children) during the next 12 months. These sessions aim to inspire a love of reading and they also help to dramatically improve children’s reading ability. They help build a foundation for wider learning.
  • Parents will be encouraged to join in the reading sessions and also to read more with their children. This ensures our impact is long-lasting, encouraging both parents and children to read for pleasure together from a young age outside of our sessions.
  • Work with a community of local charities and organisations to challenge educational inequality and reduce social isolation. Collaborating within communities means we find the families who need us most and can connect them to other free, local support services to help them more broadly.

Campaign budget

  • £20,000 – Towards running home based reading sessions and lending books each week.
  • £20,000 – Towards running our Online Reading Corner for families and gifting them books to keep.

Understanding the budget

If we don’t reach our target will continue to fundraise in our normal way, obtaining grants from trusts and foundations, and reaching out to individuals and companies. Our aims of working with more children will still go ahead, but we may need to postpone some aspects depending on how much of the target is raised. Any excess funds will go towards recruiting additional volunteers and exceeding targets set to match more volunteers and families for reading sessions.

Impact

Our latest Impact Research shows that:

  • 95% of parents saw an increase in their child’s enjoyment of books and reading
  • 96% of parents reported they were happy with their children’s reading because of our visits
  • 92% of parents said that they felt more confident reading with their children since our visits
  • 97% of children rated their visits as ‘Really Good’ or ‘Great’
  • Children showed a 24% increase in how well they felt they read at school This year we will do even better.

Reporting

We will measure our impact not only in terms of the number of children and families we work with, but also by getting their views and feedback on this service. We evaluate and improve projects through quantitative and qualitative feedback and use a bespoke database for reporting on a weekly basis on all visits and online interactions. In addition, we survey children and parents on how they feel about our visits and the difference these make (and how they could be improved).