Government funding cut for Northern Ireland
Book Trust are very disappointed to announce that the Northern Ireland government will no longer be funding the Bookstart programme.
Up to 50,000 babies and children could miss out on the Bookstart packs, which are given to babies aged 0-1 and children aged 3-4. The Bookstart packs for babies give a family the first real chance to share stories and books with their child. Each baby pack consists of two books, tips and recommendations about sharing stories with your child and a purple bag. The pack for pre-schoolers also contains two new books and a new bag.
Chief Executive, Viv Bird said:
It's a great pity that children in Northern Ireland are in danger of missing out on valuable book gifting that is available to other children in the UK.
We are passionate about ensuring that we continue to reach children in Northern Ireland who need us the most. We will be working around the clock to find new partners who can help us continue to change lives through reading.
Our research has shown that sharing stories and books helps development of speech and helps children develop emotionally. At a Bookstart event last year Lenka Sanisloua stated how her son enjoys reading so much that he started bringing books to her so she would read to him.
Book Trust patron Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall visited a library in County Antrim during the National Bookstart Week celebrations in 2013. Her Royal Highness also took part in activities and read Goldilocks and the Three Bears to the children in attendance.
Book Trust was told of the removal of funding for Bookstart after Education Minister John O'Dowd presented his budget to the Northern Ireland Assembly's Education Committee earlier this week.