Enterprise and National Literacy Trust’s school road trip to encourage reading

Enterprise Rent-A-Car and the National Literacy Trust have teamed up to give away almost 23,000 copies of Serena Patel’s award-winning book, ‘Anisha, Accidental Detective’, to 240 primary schools in nine cities around the UK.

On December 6, a team from Enterprise will start a six-day tour of the UK to deliver the books in a van specially decorated by the book’s illustrator Emma McCann, featuring characters from the book.

The National Literacy Trust has worked with Enterprise to identify communities across the UK that will benefit from an injection of books and the charity is confident that this donation will help to increase reading for pleasure among these children.

The road trip will start in Belfast and then travel to schools in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bradford, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and London. The aim of the initiative is to provide schools in very diverse inner-city communities with a stock of interesting books that they can gift children to take home and keep as this reinforces classroom learning.

Enterprise employees have recorded a read-along version of the book, which children can access via an online link or QR code as an added aid to help them read. Researchshows that reading for pleasure out of school is a major contributing factor to success at school and then in later life and is even linked to a higher lifetime earning potential.

The initiative was made possible with a £128,000 donation from the Enterprise Holdings Foundation as part of the US$55 million global ROAD Forward initiative that promotes social and racial equity projects across the world.

Darranda Rowswell, director of development at the National Literacy Trust, said: “Around one in 11 children from lower income families don’t have a book of their own at home. Reading is not just great fun, but it’s a vital skill and we want all children to love reading. Children and young people who enjoy reading and who read frequently are better readers, helping them to realise their fullest potential at school and in life.

“This book donation is one more important step in our literacy recovery programme to address the educational issues caused by the pandemic and will help the children who need it most. We’re so happy that Enterprise was able to support us in this programme which will see thousands of children benefitting from this exciting book.”

Simon Caughey-Rogers, Enterprise’s corporate social responsibility and charity events manager, said: “The partnership with the National Literacy Trust has had enormous support from the whole of the company. Many of our super star employees also struggled with reading at school.

“Every child should get the support they need to be their best and we hope this initiative will go a little way to helping more children get the resources they need. We are really looking forward to their feedback and excited to see how they get on with the book.”

Research from the Centre For Literacy In Primary Education (CLPE) in 2020 revealed that only eight per cent of children’s books featured an ethnic minority leading character. Serena Patel’s book was chosen to inspire children who may not usually see themselves represented in the books they read.

Author Serena Patel said she supported the National Literacy Trusts’ campaign to promote reading for pleasure and was delighted that her book was playing an important part in the programme.

Serena said: “I was thrilled when I heard that Enterprise and the National Literacy Trust were coming together for this initiative to gift books to children in primary schools.

“The lockdowns have been tough for everyone and so being part of such a positive, inspiring project is a massive privilege. I couldn’t be prouder that Anisha will be helping encourage children to discover the excitement of reading. Huge thanks to Enterprise for making it happen and for supporting young readers all over the country.”

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