Hachette UK has partnered with platform Neighbourly to donate 12,000 books to charities and community groups that need them most during lockdown.
The books, donated last month from across all Hachette UK's 10 divisions, have now been distributed around the country, supporting people from all walks of life.
"Books connect us and that’s never been more important than now, when we’re physically apart," David Shelley, c.e.o. of Hachette UK, commented. "Thanks to Neighbourly, our books are supporting the mental health of NHS workers and patients in Leicestershire, alleviating the loneliness of the elderly who are self-isolating in Oxfordshire, and helping families in London who are facing the challenges of home-schooling without the resources others are lucky enough to have. These are just a few of the deserving causes we’ve been able to help, and we hope our books have opened up new worlds of entertainment and learning for these communities during the lockdown."
Sarah Willis, director of HR and operational development at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, said the books they received were being used by employees who are self-isolating as well as by ward teams and young people in its hospitals.
"The health and wellbeing of our staff and patients is so important for us, particularly at this time, and we're grateful that we were able to thank and support them with these books," she said.
Meanwhile the Children’s Book Project is using the books in the schools and communities it works with. Spokesperson Liberty Venn from the organisation said: "One of the schools which received Hachette books told us it's not just about home learning: it's about the creative spark that all children can get from opening a book and getting lost in a fantasy world, or a world full of facts and figures. At this particularly challenging time, the gift of books has allowed them to spend a vital few minutes engaging with the parents and sometimes the children while they are collecting their books."
The books are also being used in support of Age UK's "Bags of Sunshine" scheme, giving back to older people. Ruth Swift, head of community development at Age UK Oxfordshire, said the scheme was "designed to let older people know that they are still cared about, still thought of, and that we are still here to help when they are even more isolated than usual due to Covid-19", adding: "The books will have a great impact on lifting spirits and relieving boredom during this time."