Welsh Assembly to fund BookTrust in Wales

The Welsh Assembly has pledged to fund the BookStart programme next year , just months after it was threatened with having its funding cut.

The government announced in January it would "continue to fund Booktrust book-gifting programmes in the future" after rowing back on plans to cut £13m of funding from the book charity's bookgifting programmes. The money was used for programmes such as Bookstart, which provide book packs to babies and primary school children.

The Welsh Assembly Government’s deputy minister for children, Huw Lewis, confirmed £3.6million of funding would go on four Basic Skills programmes in 2012 - Bookstart, Language and Play, Family Support Programmes and Letterbox, for children in Wales.

Lewis said: “Despite the tough funding settlement we have received from the UK government, the Welsh Assembly Government has continued to make children a priority.

“By protecting the funding for programmes such as Bookstart we are showing our commitment to improving the basic literacy and numeracy skills of babies, children and their families.

“The Bookstart programme has proved to be a huge success in getting babies and children engaged with books and reading from an early stage in life. This is why we are continuing to fund Bookstart. Through this programme we are making sure that all babies and children, regardless of their family situation have access to books from birth.”

The programmes form part of the Welsh Assembly Government’s four year National Literacy Plan which is currently being developed. The Strategy sets out how literacy standards are to be raised in Wales in the future.