More than 300 children in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe have taken part in a fun outdoor event to encourage reading among young people.
The ‘booknic’, organised by the Surrey Quays shopping centre and the National Literacy Trust, included children from Galleywall Primary School, Ilderton Primary School and St John’s RC Primary School.
The day combined reading with a picnic and the schools also had access to virtual interactive storytelling sessions and a literary quiz.
Ian Moore, centre manager at Surrey Quays, said: “Supporting our community is so important to us and the Young Readers Programme plays a massive part in that. It’s a brilliant initiative which we look forward to every year and it’s great to see the children celebrating at our booknic event.
“Thanks also needs to go to the National Literacy Trust for their hard work on this event and over the years. They’ve helped us to ensure that the additional support and books go to those who need them most.”
British Land, which owns the shopping centre, and the National Literacy Trust celebrate the tenth year of their Young Readers partnership. Since the programme launched it has supported more than 2,350 schoolchildren and seen more than 7,000 books donated.
Over the past year the shopping centre has also given 550 books to local food banks, charities and community organisations to get children access to books during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jonathan Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust, said: “Encouraging children to develop a love of reading from a young age can have a tangible impact on their literacy skills, mental wellbeing and futures. Yet hundreds of thousands of children across the UK are missing out on these benefits simply because they don’t have a book of their own to read at home.
“The Young Readers Programme, with support from British Land, tackles this and we’d like to thank them for all their support over the years.”