Feeding young minds: thousands of free children’s books will be gifted to London families supported by food provision scheme this summer


New partnership from National Literacy Trust, Mayor’s Fund for London and HarperCollins to gift 9,000 brand new children’s books to London families alongside their food parcels

This summer, families with children and young people supported by the Mayor’s Fund for London’s Kitchen Social food programme will receive one of 9,000 brand new books donated by HarperCollins and an exciting activity pack alongside their food parcel, thanks to a new partnership with the National Literacy Trust.

From today, 9,000 families with children and young people across 29 Kitchen Social hubs in 14 London boroughs will receive:

  • One of five books suitable for early years to young adult from authors and brands including Bing, Michael Bond, Richard Scarry, Veronica Roth and National Geographic.
  • Activity packs from the National Literacy Trust filled with fun reading and writing activities to do at home, including a Time Together booklet for parents with children aged 0-5 and activity booklets for 5-8 year olds and 9-12 years olds based on those available on the charity’s brand new Family Zone website

Many families in these boroughs rely on the support Kitchen Social offers during school holidays, however due to the nature of the current pandemic, the programme has recently adapted and expanded their offering beyond this. As families are no longer able to meet freely at the Kitchen Social centres, staff are taking on more door-to-door deliveries of food parcels where possible.

In partnering with the National Literacy Trust and HarperCollins, the programme will also now be able to gift 9,000 books to children and young people to enjoy over the summer across 14 London boroughs.

Research from the National Literacy Trust shows that almost 60,000 children and young people in the capital don’t own a single book, and while public libraries and many schools are closed to the majority of pupils, it has never been a more important time to get books into the hands of the children who need them most.

Jonathan Douglas, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust, said: “We’re so pleased to work with the Mayor’s Fund for London’s Kitchen Social programme to be able to support thousands of families across London with brand new books and activities to enjoy at home this summer. It’s crucial that all children have access to books and resources to support their literacy development at this time and that we do everything we can to encourage them to read for fun to support their wellbeing during this period of uncertainty. We also want to thank HarperCollins for generously donating 9,000 books to bring the magic of stories to homes across the capital this summer.”