The organisers of Stratford Literary Festival are extending their Bedtime Stories project, which helps families in areas of disadvantage read with their children, thanks to a £15,000 Arts Council England (ACE) grant.
As part of the Bedtime Stories project the festival invites parents or carers to write a story with their children, then come to a party to share the stories and spend time with an author. The festival also organises author-led workshops in prisons, where participants create a story for their children.
The project is already active in nine schools and 12 prisons but the new grant, which came from the Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants programme, will allow the festival to work with five more schools and organise 12 more workshops in prison, reaching 1,000 more children in total.
Annie Ashworth, founder and director of Stratford Literary Festival, said: “Demand for this work is increasing beyond our resources, and we are very grateful to the Arts Council for recognising the value of our work and for enabling us to extend our impact through this grant.
“Our festival education work is at the heart of what we do, and for families we have a particular focus on encouraging parents and carers to read to their children because it is during this valuable time together that parents and carers bond with their children, develop literacy skills and gift them a passion they will have for life. It has long been recognised that reading and reading with and to children has immense benefits for well-being, literacy and educational outcomes.”