Children's reading charity BookTrust says it has handed out more than 237,000 free books to help families hit by the Covid-19 lockdown.
With schools and libraries closed, the organisation has worked with 168 local authorities, distributing “care packages” of books, tailored for early years and primary school-aged children.
The books can be left as gifts on doorsteps, presents for children in care or used in facilities that have remained open. The packages are being distributed across children's centres, schools, libraries, food banks, refuge centres, SEN schools and other places.
To date the charity has sent out 237,269 books to every region of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Diana Gerald, BookTrust c.e.o, said: "We are all in this together, and yet the impact of this pandemic is not shared equally. Reading, and shared reading, not only enables children to escape to fantasy worlds; it also supports language development, communication skills and confidence, and can be hugely reassuring in a world that for many is now very challenging.
“Getting books to families has always been important; now, getting them to families in struggling circumstances is absolutely mission critical."
- Hachette UK donates 12,000 books to support communities during lockdown
- BookTrust to deliver 700,000 free books to schools as Time to Read campaign kicks off
- People reading more books during lockdown, Nielsen says
- Cowell launches BookTrust Home Time for children during school closures
- PRH donates audiobooks to prison and hospital radio during lockdown