Earlier this year we announced our partnership with Children’s Book Project, installing a pilot donation point in London on the hoarding of our Borough Yards development.
The initiative, which enables passers-by to deposit books their children have outgrown, has attracted thousands of donations from across London and is more vital than ever during the lockdown period.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most collection points across London have been closed, but ours at Borough Yards has remained open and has contributed to 38,000 books being delivered to children and babies in the last month.
Books have been cleaned, sorted and distributed via 83 separate organisations, alongside our own, including women’s refuges, foodbanks, community groups, nurseries and schools.
Gifting has taken place across 12 London boroughs (Barking & Dagenham, Brent, Ealing, Enfield, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hillingdon, Newham, RBKC, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Westminster) and to a number of schools in Oxfordshire.
A quarter of disadvantaged UK children have access to fewer than 10 books, so we hope the project could eventually grow nationally to tackle this book gap and help develop literacy levels across the UK, following the pilot.
Ran Holst (Chair and Trustee) from the Children’s Book Project comments:
“The Wates collection point has remained open and is a key location for us as part of this important initiative.
“A heartfelt thank you to the Wates Group for embracing this partnership and helping us to put a million books into children’s bedroom over the 3 years. Stories bring so much pleasure, they widen our world and help us to dream”.
Mark Tant, MD at Wates Construction, adds:
“As a leading education contractor, having built dozens of schools across the UK, we think this initiative is a great way to make the most of the hoardings surrounding our developments, doing our bit to help overcome book-poverty.
“I’m really passionate about education and it’s shocking to see the stats that there is a ten-month difference in the language development of 11 year old children from ‘book rich homes’ compared to their less-privileged school friends. If you have access to our Borough Yards site, please continue to kindly donate so we can keep making a difference.”
In June 2020, the Children’s Book Project received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
Anyone interested in hearing more about the initiative should visit: https://childrensbookproject.co.uk/