Middlesbrough's most vulnerable children will receive free books to read during the Coronavirus lockdown.
Staff from Middlesbrough Council's Prevention department (Early Help), Children's Social Care and Property Services have worked in partnership with the National Literacy Trust Middlesbrough Reads to gift books for the town's children.
Thanks to an on-going partnership between the National Literacy Trust and the publishers Penguin Random House, Middlesbrough Reads has been able to donate 1,800 books, worth over £11k, for this initiative.
The books have been sorted into age specific titles and will be sent to the town's most vulnerable children in the coming weeks.
Cllr Barrie Cooper, Middlesbrough Council's Executive Member for Education, said: "I want to say thank you to everyone who has come together to make this happen - it has shown really quick thinking and even quicker acting - and thank you to the National Literacy Trust and Penguin Random House for their huge generosity.
"Reading has huge benefits for everyone and I hope these books are enjoyed by all who receive them."
Research by the National Literacy Trust has found the single biggest impact on a child's independent reading is whether a parent reads to them. The more children are read to, the greater the impact.
Allison Potter, Manager of National Literacy Trust Middlesbrough Reads, said: "We have been fortunate to receive regular donations of books from Penguin Random House over the past few years and I was delighted to be able to work in partnership with the various council departments to ensure these children receive a book during these worrying times. Books won't save the world, but will hopefully help worried children take their minds off these scary times and escape into another world."
Sheila Marley, Middlesbrough Council's School Readiness Team Manager, said: "As part of Middlesbrough's Early Years Literacy pathway, we work with the National Literacy Trust, Book Start and colleagues to help parents understand how important their role is in developing their children's love of books, and we hope this will encourage families to pick up a book and read together."
The book gifting is part of the Middlesbrough Reads Literacy Hub's response to the Covid-19 outbreak, which has also included launching a new Facebook page to provide families with fun activities and educational resources during these unprecedented times.