The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

Projects to Improve Accessibility, Representation and Inclusion Awarded Final Round of Grants from £50K BA Diversity Fund

03/03/2020
Diversity & Inclusiveness Grants Project

From a reading group for adults with Asperger’s Syndrome, to bookshop cinema screenings for the elderly, and from ‘after dark’ education spaces for people with mental health conditions, to inclusive children’s bookshop pop-ups, the Booksellers Association of the UK & Ireland (BA) has today announced the final round of recipients from its Diversity & Inclusiveness Grants (DIG) Project.

The ten bookshop projects selected will each be awarded funding for their proposed project to improve diversity and inclusion. The bookshop projects to receive funding are:

- Round Table Books, Brixton, London will use the grant to bring more inclusive children’s pop-up bookshops across the UK, following the success of its 2018 project which lead to its permanent store.

- The Book Nook, Ware, Hertfordshire, Sussex will run monthly social activities, book groups, and work placements for adults with Asperger’s in partnership with Always Be You.

- The Bookshop on the Green, Birmingham will celebrate Birmingham’s racial and cultural diversity with story sharing events that bring people together and break down barriers that exist between different groups.

- Owl and Pyramid Bookshop, Seaton, Devon will take authors into small schools and home education groups that do not usually have the opportunity to receive author visits.

- Category is Books, Glasgow will continue to support reading groups and queer writer meet-ups, as well as providing more materials in translation to suit the 32 languages spoken in Glasgow.

- Pickled Pepper Books, Crouch End, London will provide fully funded school trips for 300 nursery and Key Stage 1 children to meet authors and receive copies of the book in the shop. 

- Simply Books, Cheshire will enhance its Simply Cinema film screenings for elderly attendees, providing more comfortable seating and improved signage.

- Goldstone Books, Carmarthen, Wales will use its events space to offer ‘after dark’ Creative Writing classes with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Arts Care to those with mental health conditions.

- Kett’s Books, Wymondham, Norfolk will continue its One Community, One Book initiative, which saw the town come together to read one book together, with a series of events bringing the community together. In 2020 the bookshop will make the events more accessible and offer more volunteering opportunities.

- Elementum Gallery, Sherborne, Dorset will install a wheelchair ramp and grab rail to ensure the shop is fully accessible. 

Launched in 2018, BA’s Diversity & Inclusiveness Grant has funded almost 50 projects across the UK and Ireland. 

Meryl Halls, MD at the BA, said: “It’s hugely inspiring and exciting to see the variety of activities bookshops have planned to increase diversity and inclusivity. Operating at the frontline of the book world, bookshops play a vital role in engaging readers, and it’s vital that they are safe and accessible spaces for all. The Diversity and Inclusiveness Grants project has been a turning point for the BA and bookselling. It has enabled new conversations around diversity in bookselling – and, most importantly, action. We are delighted to be supporting each of one of these brilliant projects.”

The BA’s Diversity & Inclusiveness Grants are awarded by a panel comprising: 

- Nic Bottomley, BA President
- Uli Lennart, manager of Gay’s the Word Bookshop in London 
- Sharmaine Lovegrove, publisher of Hachette’s new inclusive imprint Dialogue Books
- Cathy Rentzenbrink, author, former bookseller and former head of Quick Reads