Belfast Harbour Changing Lives Through Reading

Hundreds of local young people receive free books as part of major educational initiative.

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Jenni Barkley, Belfast Harbour, Sheena Wilkinson and Liz Canning, BookTrust with pupils from Colaiste Feirste and Edmund Rice College.

Belfast Harbour has partnered with reading charity BookTrust NI for the 2017 ‘Teenage Author Project’.

The ‘Teenage Author Project’ engaged with 200 post-primary school pupils from across Belfast to encourage reading and writing by providing them all with a book written by local author Sheena Wilkinson. An online platform enabled pupils to review the book while interacting with the author, providing a hub for pupils to discuss the book. In addition to this, pupils were also challenged to a creative writing project which was then judged by Sheena.

The 12-week project concluded with two events at the Belfast Harbour Office, at which Sheena spoke to the pupils about her inspiration for writing, along with signing copies of her book and announcing the winner of the creative writing project. The winners were Emma Milligan, Saul Anderson and Bethany Molyneaux from Glengormley High School and Damien Mac Uiginn, Dubhaltach Mac Crabhagain and Katie-Nicole Ní Bhrannuidh from Colaiste Feirste.

Shenna Wilkinson said:

“It's always a pleasure to work with BookTrust and I'm thrilled to be part of this project at Belfast Harbour. Name Upon Name takes a new look at a contentious area of our history, so I'm delighted that so many young readers are having the chance to read and think about it. I've enjoyed meeting them all and am thrilled they were all so engaged and inspired by the project.” 

Liz Canning, National Development Manager - Northern Ireland said:

“Encouraging children to read for pleasure by sharing stories helps to make reading fun as well as aiding educational development, social skills and emotional growth. Author events such as these go a long way to inspiring a generation of readers. We want to encourage young people from across Belfast to read, write and engage with their creative side while enjoying the benefits that come from literature.”

Jenni Barkley, Communications and Corporate Responsibility Manager, Belfast Harbour, said:

“Belfast Harbour is delighted to be involved with the ‘Teenage Author Project’ as BookTrust provides such a vital resource for so many children and young people. Belfast Harbour is committed to supporting the provision and support of educational development for our local communities, which was also seen through our ‘Babies need Books’ partnership also with BookTrust. BookTrust is the largest reading focussed charity in the UK and their continuous work helps to dramatically improve the educational outcome, well-being and social mobility of children.”