The Siobhan Dowd Trust is offering schools that work with disadvantaged children the chance buy books at local bookshops, thanks to a series of grants.
The trust currently has £12,000 to spend and will give a £1,000 to each of the 12 regions of the UK. In each region the £1,000 may go to one school or may be divided into smaller grants of £750, £500 or £250.
Director Kate Powling said the scheme is an extension of previous projects with schools. Last November the trust awarded £1,000 to Roundhill Primary School in Bath, which was spent at Oldfield Park Bookshop. The trustees are very keen to support independent booksellers, she added.
“We want to reward schools that can demonstrate good practice when it comes to promoting reading as well as working with vulnerable or disadvantaged children,” she said. “The judges [including head of trustees Tony Bradman] will look at a variety of evidence, from statistical analysis or even just anecdotes.”
Successful schools will be given guidance on which books to buy but the onus is on pupils to choose books themselves, she added.
To enter, schools must email the trust via the website with details on how they engage young readers, as well as their ‘premium pupil funding’ number, which is given to every school which works with disadvantaged groups.
The deadlines for application are: 30th June for Scotland, North East, North West and Yorkshire & Humber; 30th September for Wales, West Midlands, East Midlands and East of England; and 30th November for Northern Ireland, South West, South East and London.
Siobhan Dowd was a children’s author who set up the trust in 2007 before her death from breast cancer, to help young people enjoy literature. The proceeds of sales of her books, as well as a proportion of the proceeds from A Monster Calls, which was written by Patrick Ness from an idea of Dowd’s, all go to the trust.
Powling said the trust has also benefitted from the release of the film version of A Monster Calls, which is due for release later this year.