Whenever you make a booking a contribution goes to our charity Make My Day Better which sends books every month to 3,000 children in care and another 10,000 in one of London's poorest boroughs. Here's a selection of other projects we actively support.
Every time you make a booking you support our book reading scheme which we run in conjunction with Dolly Parton.
We are currently helping almost 10,000 children in one of London's poorest boroughs, Southwark, to learn to read along with several thousand children who are in care throughout the UK. In the past five years we have distributed more than 300,000 books.
A child receives a book every month in the post, specially selected for their age by a panel of reading experts, until they reach the age of five by which time they will have a library of up to 60 books.
Dolly Parton grew up in a large family and because her father could not read he found it hard to get a good job. As soon as she became famous she set up a book reading scheme for the children of Tennessee which has proved massively beneficial and been adopted by many other US States.
We have been running the scheme in the UK for almost five years and we are immensely proud to be helping today's children become tomorrow's highly employable adults.
During 2020 Southwark Council carried out an evaluation programme and many families commented on how much the programme had helped during lockdown as access to libraries and early years setting was not possible.
It is an absolutely fantastic scheme and has really encouraged us to do more reading and increased the children's interest in books.
Its been amazing. My son now not only enjoys someone reading to him, he asks adults to make up stories using characters he chooses, he remembers and recounts stories and he also now listens to audio stories. He is bilingual so this has helped to enhance his English too.
They're such a joy to receive each month and we are so grateful to have this resource. Our daughter loves reading and being read to, and the variety she receives from the Imagination Library is a significant part of this. Thank you!
The feeling of having your own personal book is amazing. Thank you for this wonderful present in the post every month. We have really appreciated the books and are excited to read them. We wouldn't have been able to afford to buy all these books - it's nice to own books and read them with my baby now, rather than all library (and has saved us during lockdown). Thank you.
Dolly Parton and the Imagination Library has helped my son develop a love for reading and to obtain a high level of competency. I cannot thank you enough. It will have a big positive impact on his future as his potential for success has increased exponentially.
My son loves books. He gets such joy every time a new book comes through our letter box and it's like unwrapping a gift. On a personal level, I've really loved the fact that I've seen a lot of diversity in the books. We live in a borough with a diverse population and so I've loved seeing that reflected in the book choices. Thank you so much for having this service available.
I think it is a brilliant scheme, our three year old granddaughter loves getting something through the post and the books she gets always excite her. They are all books we haven’t seen and seem to be a great choice. She insists on listening to two books every night and she has a very varied selection to choose from. Thank you so much for sending them.
The feedback we have received from foster carers has been consistently positive. They say that the children are delighted to receive the books and they enjoy sharing them together. With so many nurseries closed during the lockdown, many carers of pre-school children were delighted that the books provided another way of engaging their child in learning activities at home.
Here at Bexley Virtual School, the Imagination Library has been an invaluable resource that around 30 of our looked after children get to enjoy every month. The children are excited to receive their book and share it with their carers. Not only does this help promote a love and curiosity of reading, but also strengthens the bond with their foster family by sharing quality time together, enjoying a book. During a time of uncertainty and less access to activities and facilities, there was one thing that the children could be certain of, and that was receiving their new book in the post from the Imagination Library!
We were so impressed that this scheme even exists. What a wonderful idea for children who have had a tough start to life. Getting the books through the post is so special every month and we look forward to its arrival. Our daughter has learnt so much from them and we’ve enjoyed exploring the news ideas presented in the stories. She has developed a real love of reading and this scheme has definitely helped with that.
I think that this is an amazing thing! My foster child is disabled, and he really enjoys being read to. The books he has received are really lovely and all my grandchildren look to read them when they come around and ask if he has a new one to read to him. We are very grateful for all the wonderful books we have.
We love to receive a new book each month! Firstly, the excitement of finding the book has been posted sparks lovely conversations about the postal service and where the book originated. Secondly, it encourages her to share a new story with others, the anticipation of what the new tale is about and what characters it might produce.
Our charitable activities also extend to older children at secondary schools in Southwark.
Together with the Outward Bound charity we sponsor groups to go on outdoor adventures in Wales, Cumbria and Scotland. Rock climbing, hill trekking and overnight expeditions all teach life skills such as confidence, teamwork and leadership.
For many of these young people it is the first time they have left London. Indeed the first highlight for one group was passing Big Ben which none of them had seen despite living just three miles away in Peckham.
Our staff volunteer to accompany each course sharing their own professional journey and helping to inspire and motivate the students to develop their own ambition.
We have been long term supporters of the team at Kew. In the past we have paid for apprentices to be trained and we are currently funding research into two promising plant based solutions for treating Alzheimers.
We are the main sponsors of the College of Medicine and it was our groundbreaking two year research project into diabetes that persuaded the NHS to recently introduce social prescribing for GPs so that instead of pills they can recommend exercise, diet and lifestyle changes.
We’ve been supporting the amazing work of Mercy Ships in Africa since 2013. The hospital ship, which has several operating theatres, is staffed by volunteer doctors, nurses and dentists. Operations for removing cataracts, treating cleft palates, club feet and other physical defects can be treated quickly and easily transforming lives.
In Siem Reap a small school needed a new classroom and a 400 m wall to keep the children safe as child abduction is a real threat. Since then we have introduced an electricity supply, laptops for the teachers, books for the library and sports equipment. Recently each of the 215 children (aged 5-15) were given a backpack with pens, pencils and books. It was the first time most had been given anything new.
Our Hand in Hand initiative aims to give mothers skills to become Mumpreneurs and support their families. Over 100 have received business training, mentoring and advice which has helped to build their confidence. They collect, save and allocate their money together.
In Kenya deafness comes with a dreadful stigma and children suffer abuse, neglect and a lack of opportunities. We have supported this project since 2014 and it is now a well equipped school transforming the lives of 200 deaf teenagers. We look forward to sharing their ongoing story.
Polio is still rampant in the DER despite vaccination programmes. We provide half the funding for the Standproud operation in Kinshasa which has helped hundreds of children.
They are fitted with leg braces and taught to walk again after having spent their lives begging on the streets pushing themselves around on trolleys. See the smiles on their faces as they regain their self- respect and start to rebuild their lives.
Whenever disaster strikes our job for many years has been to get the Shelterbox teams to the remote corners of the globe wherever the earthquake, floods or emergency is unfolding.
And they are often the first rescue organisation to arrive on the spot. Within minutes of a major emergency an advance rescue team leaves the Shelterbox base in Cornwall and our travel teams spring into action to get them to the disaster area fast.
Their famous green box contains everything for survival for families who have often lost everything with tents, cooking equipment and even drawing materials for the children.