500 Families Receive Free Children’s Books from Belfast Harbour

Belfast Harbour delivering books to babies across Belfast communities.

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BookTrust's Liz Canning and Belfast Harbour's Jenni Barkley with one of the families who received a book.

Belfast Harbour has again partnered with reading charity BookTrust NI in support of their 2016/17 flagship programme ‘Babies Need Books’.

BookTrust specialises in helping families with young children to enhance their wellbeing and development. Sure Start Children’s centres in the South and West of the city will deliver this year’s Book Start campaign, which last year provided 1,000 books to families with young children.

The project was launched at The Blackie River Sure Start in West Belfast, the parents and children attending the event were encouraged to participate in reading, sharing rhymes, songs and stories.

Liz Canning, Manager of BookTrust Northern Ireland, said:

“Reading can transform the lives of children, and children who are read to for 10 minutes every day are up to a year ahead of children who don’t have that experience by the time they start school. Shared reading also helps children to become more socially, culturally and emotionally prepared for life when they start school.

As part of our previous schemes, parents have also benefited from the positive impacts of reading by gaining confidence to read books more often and strengthening the bond with their children by encouraging them to read together.”

The project will run until March 2017 and will provide Bookstart packs to three Sure Start family centres, ensuring that all children can reap the life changing benefits that come from reading.

Jenni Barkley, Communications and Corporate Responsibility Manager of Belfast Harbour, sponsored of Book Trust NI said;

“Babies Need Books is an extremely important initiative for children across Northern Ireland, and Belfast Harbour is keen to continue to develop and increase the educational outcomes of children.

We know that children who read have a significant advantage in education over those who don’t, and we are committed to inspiring more young children and parents to pick up a book in communities across the city and improve long term educational attainment.”