The National Literacy Trust (NLT) has teamed up with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to give away almost 23,000 copies of Serena Patel’s book Anisha, Accidental Detective (Usborne) to 240 primary schools in nine cities around the UK.
An Enterprise team will start a six-day tour of the UK today (6th December) to deliver the books in a van decorated by the book’s illustrator Emma McCann. The road trip will start in Belfast and then travel to schools in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bradford, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and London.
The aim of the initiative is to provide schools in diverse inner-city communities with a stock of interesting books they can give to children to take home and keep, helping reinforce classroom learning. Enterprise employees have also recorded a read-along version of the book which children can access via an online link or QR code as an added aid.
It was made possible with a £128,000 donation from the Enterprise Holdings Foundation as part of the £41m global ROAD (Respect, Opportunity, Achievement, Diversity) Forward initiative that promotes social and racial equity projects across the world.
Darranda Rowswell, director of development at the NLT, said: "Around one in 11 children from lower-income families don’t have a book of their own at home. Reading is not just great fun, but it’s a vital skill and we want all children to love reading. Children and young people who enjoy reading and who read frequently are better readers, helping them to realise their fullest potential at school and in life.
“This book donation is one more important step in our literacy recovery programme to address the educational issues caused by the pandemic and will help the children who need it most. We’re so happy that Enterprise was able to support us in this programme, which will see thousands of children benefiting from this exciting book.”
Simon Caughey-Rogers, Enterprise’s corporate social responsibility and charity events manager, added: “Many of our superstar employees also struggled with reading at school. Every child should get the support they need to be their best and we hope this initiative will go a little way to helping more children get the resources they need. We are really looking forward to their feedback and excited to see how they get on with the book.”
Author Patel commented: “I was thrilled when I heard that Enterprise and the National Literacy Trust were coming together for this initiative to gift books to children in primary schools. The lockdowns have been tough for everyone and so being part of such a positive, inspiring project is a massive privilege. I couldn't be prouder that Anisha will be helping encourage children to discover the excitement of reading. Huge thanks to Enterprise for making it happen and for supporting young readers all over the country.”