The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

HarperCollins reveals recipients of the Literacy Project Grants for Independent Booksellers

20/06/2019
HarperCollins Literacy Project Grants 2019

Sew-on ‘Book Explorer patches’, pop-up libraries and a magazine for young readers created by kids are just some of the ideas included in successful applications for the HarperCollins Literacy Project Grants for Independent Booksellers. The projects aim to bring together communities, support schools in areas of significant deprivation and inspire a love for reading in children. 

Twelve bookshops from Edinburgh to Somerset will each receive a grant of up to £2,000 to put their ideas in motion. The projects focus on supporting early years and primary age literacy within their local communities. HarperCollins and the National Literacy Trust will be on hand with advice to help the successful applicants achieve their goals.

The grants were launched at the HarperCollins Indie Thinking evening in January 2019. They were set up with the National Literacy Trust as a successor to the Independent Bookshop Grants that offered funding to bookshops to attract new customers through entrepreneurial new projects.

The winners include Red Lion Books in Colchester, Essex, who will work with a local community service to help support new refugee and migrant families in the area by providing a safe and welcoming environment and structured storytelling; and Round Table Books in Brixton, London, who will be working with dyslexic or otherwise differently-abled children and their carers to help them enrich storytelling at home as one part of their project. 

Forum Books in Corbridge, Northumberland are planning to help a group of Year 3 and Year 4 children to design, make and launch their own book. The project will explore the roles involved in making a book therefore encouraging communication skills, and will aim to raise aspirations and awareness of the world of books. 

The Book Hive in Norwich, Norfolk will create a scheme to encourage and reward young readers with sew-on ‘Book Explorer patches’ when they have read certain types of books or a certain number of books, similar to those for sports achievements at school. To help with accessibility, they will create a pop-up library of children’s titles in popular family spots around the city.

Nearly fifty independent bookshops applied for the grants, with projects ranging from delivering courses on how to make reading fun to parents, grandparents and carers, and creating a magazine for young readers by kids, to hosting interactive storytelling sessions for pre-school children. While HarperCollins originally pledged to award ten grants, due to the strength of the applications, twelve winners were chosen. 

Ben Hurd, HarperCollins Trade Marketing Director, said: ‘It is such a pleasure to announce the recipients of these grants during Independent Bookshop Week. Bookshops are community hubs with unique local expertise and I am really looking forward to working closely with the winners of the grants to help implement their projects and drive literacy among younger children.’ 

Katie Fulford, Special Projects Director, said: ‘These grants are a fantastic way to help broaden the reach of The Literacy Project and engage booksellers and are an opportunity to effect real change on a local level. We want to support bookshops’ efforts to inspire a joy of reading for pleasure in young children and give them the skills they need to start school with confidence.’ 

Khadija Osman, Lead Bookseller at Round Table Books, said: ‘We absolutely love what HarperCollins is doing because it’s showing children that their bookshops care about them and want them to achieve the best they can.’ 

The successful shops and projects are: 
  • Book Hive, Norwich, Norfolk
  • Edinburgh Bookshop, Edinburgh 
  • Forum Books, Corbridge, Northumberland 
  • Lindum Books, Lincoln, Lincolnshire 
  • Little Ripon Bookshop, Ripon, North Yorkshire
  • Read. Holmfirth, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire
  • Red Lion Books, Colchester, Essex
  • Round Table Books, Brixton, London 
  • Sevenoaks Bookshop, Sevenoaks, Kent 
  • Snug Bookshop, Bridgwater, Somerset
  • Stanfords, Bristol
  • The Rabbit Hole, Brigg, North Lincolnshire