BookTrust and Kinship partner to empower kinship carers through shared reading
Published on: 21 November 2023
BookTrust and Kinship are working together on training development and support for kinship carers.
BookTrust is proud to announce its collaboration with Kinship, the leading national charity for kinship carers in England and Wales.
This strategic partnership led by Kinship - backed by a £3 million, 18-month contract from the Department for Education - aims to create a comprehensive training and support programme for kinship carers in England.
Shared reading, which is shown to benefit mental wellbeing, self-esteem and educational outcomes, will be at the heart of this programme, catering to kinship carers at various stages of their journey, with a particular focus on those who have been historically under-served such as informal carers and carers from Black, Asian, and ethnic minority communities.
The partnership - which also includes National Association of Virtual School Heads (NAVSH), Place2Be, Anna Freud, and Kinship Carers Liverpool - will deliver a tailored programme that recognises the unique challenges kinship families face.
This initiative builds on the collaborative work already happening between the two charities, as this summer BookTrust engaged 25 kinship carers in Leeds and Wakefield through several workshops and learning activities.
BookTrust gained valuable insights into the needs, preferences, and challenges faced by kinship families and also provided 30 children being looked after by these carers with packs containing books, games, and activities. This enabled further understanding of what works well and what could be improved. The lessons learned during this period will be instrumental in shaping the upcoming training and support programme.
This is an extension of BookTrust's broader mission, supporting children from families experiencing challenges, highlighting the benefits of reading together, and using shared reading to bring enjoyment and stability to vulnerable children – the latter being one of four proposals the charity is currently sharing for consultation.
Annie Crombie, Deputy Chief Executive at BookTrust said: "We are thrilled to be working with Kinship on this transformative journey.
"Together, our primary objective is to empower kinship carers through the magic of shared reading, providing the right support while helping to build specific skills and increase confidence.
"The benefits of reading are available to all children and this extension of our work means that those who need it the most will have the robust guidance needed, ensuring that no matter what else is happening for them, they can experience the joy and benefits that reading together brings.
"This collaboration exemplifies our commitment to making reading as accessible as possible and enriching the lives of families across the country."
The next few months will see BookTrust and partners collaborate to design the training and support package alongside kinship carers to ensure the programme meets their specific needs.
The pilot programme that will roll out early next year will include a mix of in-person and online workshops, along with regional events to connect with kinship families nationwide.
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