Nailsworth Rotary Club members have once again teamed up with Yellow-Lighted Bookshop to buy 500 children’s books for families using Stroud District Foodbank this Christmas, writes Kate Jarvis.
And now they’re raising £3,000 to fund the project.
“We did the same last year,” Rotarian Sheila King explains. “We had fantastic feedback. When the books were delivered, the children homed in on them and were absolutely delighted. One lady said she’d had to go to hospital. Her child, who came with her, took the book and wouldn’t put it down. Just read and read and read.”
The roots of the idea stretch back to the first lockdown, in March 2020. When Nailsworth Rotarians found themselves unable to get together for their monthly meal at Egypt Mill, they pledged to give the money they saved to Stroud Foodbank. In two months, they had collected more than £1,000.
Amanda Strover, who helps run the Foodbank was delighted. But, she told Rotary, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we used the money to give each child a book!”
With the help of Hereward Corbett, owner of the Nailsworth’s Yellow-Lighted Bookshop – and some very generous donations – Nailsworth Rotary bought books for every family with a child aged from five to 12, both in the summer and at Christmas.
“We decided we didn’t want second-hand books; we didn’t want paperbacks. We wanted these children to have beautiful books that would say, ‘I’m special,” explained Sheila.
“ast Christmas, every book was wrapped by volunteers, using environmentally-friendly paper provided at cost by Brutons hardware. ‘The oldest person wrapping books was 90; the youngest was six,” Sheila says. ‘Two of my neighbours took away such a pile that they had to use a wheelbarrow! So many local people helped out.
“Financial help came from all quarters, including a member of the public who sent a cheque for £500. ‘She wasn’t a member of Rotary – just a member of the public who said she felt books were food for the soul.”
According to the National Literacy Trust, one in eight disadvantaged children in the UK doesn’t own a book.
“Of course, these families need food first and foremost,’ Sheila added. ‘They must have good sustenance – and nothing comes before that. But books are all about mental health, which is hugely important, too. If you get hooked on a book, you learn. Reading is vital.”
- Donations are warmly welcomed: visit https://gofund.me/0bdca782; alternatively, sealed envelopes marked ‘Rotary Nailsworth Book Appeal’ (cheques made payable to Nailsworth Rotary) can be handed in to Egypt Mill, Nailsworth GL6 0AE; or to Yellow-Lighted Bookshop in Fountain Street, Nailsworth GL6 0BL
- To find out more about Stroud District Foodbank, and to donate to its work feeding families, visit strouddistrict.foodbank.org.uk