Doncaster Council is cutting the Imagination Library scheme, backed by singer Dolly Parton, after three years of funding came to an end.
The scheme sent one free book a month to children under five in Rotherham and those children will continue to receive books until August, with the project ending on 1st September, said the council. The Imagination Library, supported by Parton’s Dollywood Foundation, began in 1995.
A petition to keep the scheme going currently has more than 1,600 signatures online. The closure will affect around 12,000 families signed up to the scheme.
Doncaster Council said it made the "difficult decision" to close the project after trying to find alternative funding.
In a statement the council said: “Funding for Imagination Library came from an external School Forum DSG Grant, this grant covered an initial period of three years, and has now come to an end. We have explored a number of alternative external funding options to allow us to continue the scheme but unfortunately this has not been possible at this time.
“Over recent months, we have conducted an in depth review of the literacy offer across the borough, one of the programmes that was considered during this review was the Imagination Library. This review has recently come to a close and the results have led us to take the difficult decision to close the Imagination Library from 1st September 2019."