Book Gifting Appeal Update

February 7, 2024

A huge thank you to all donors who gifted funds, large or small, to the recent Just Giving Appeal which raised £1,417.50 plus £330.63 in Gift Aid, over the festive period and in the new year. Your support has made a big difference – your combined efforts have helped us purchase 350 more new books towards Read Manchester’s festive free book give-away!

Through the campaign, a grand total of 17,582 books were gifted to struggling families across Manchester this Christmas. With the help of 156 different partner organisations, who directly support families in the community, these brand new books have found new homes and new readers. 

Sowing the seeds for a love of reading by gifting free books, is the essence of Read Manchester’s book gifting campaign.  Over the festive period, with public support via our Just Giving appeal, Read Manchester were able to reach out to community and youth groups, foodbanks, community grocers, children’s centres, health groups, the children’s hospital and more, to offer the gift of a free book this Christmas.

The feedback from families and partner organisations illustrates the impact of the festive campaign:  

‘I could’ve cried when I opened the parcel and saw the books. To know my child won’t be without gifts on Christmas Day is such a relief. We love reading together now.’  Parent supported by Home-Start Manchester, Charity  

Books received by the Special Educational Needs Coordinator at Abbey Hey Primary School, were used for their Christmas hampers. Jill commented that gifting books makes a huge difference to their vulnerable families:  

Parents were very grateful, one child said they have never had their own book before.

Sally at Healthy Me, Healthy Communities, gave the books out to families on low income attending the Community Grocers said:  

Our staff and volunteer team are so happy to receive these books. The families we work with are struggling more and more and our demand is getting higher and higher, with little increase in funds to match. To be able to provide books for children (and the ones to adults) and see the joy on the children and adults’ faces is a joy. It is both helping people financially and mental health wise as they are receiving something for free which will provide enjoyment, learning, and fun!

Read Manchester also partnered with BookTrust, the children’s reading charity dedicated to inspiring families to read together, to deliver 1,427 festive book parcels to 12 community organisations this Christmas. Foodbanks and children in care benefitted from a gift that will last long after Christmas making the children feel special.  Read Manchester are also very grateful to the amazing volunteers who contributed a total of 147 hours to help the team with the Festive Gifting campaign. And a big, bearded shout out to author Gav Cross for his help in promoting the campaign!

Read Manchester is a partnership between Manchester City Council and the National Literacy Trust, which supports children, young people and adults by promoting reading for pleasure and literacy skills. It has been proven that reading for pleasure is the biggest factor in indicating a child’s future success. Developing a regular reading habit not only improves life chances but enhances wellbeing.  However, due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and prevalence of financial and food poverty in many of our city’s communities, book buying is not a priority for many families.