Welcome to BookTrust Northern Ireland

Through our reader development programmes and work as an arts organisation, BookTrust in Northern Ireland makes a positive impact on children, families and local communities.

In line with the rest of the UK our aim is to ensure that everyone has access to books in their home and is inspired to engage with the world of reading for pleasure and to improve their life chances.

Stay up to date with all the latest in Northern Ireland

BookTrust has been helping families across the country to engage with books and storytelling during lockdown, offering support, advice and free books to disadvantaged families who have been hardest hit by lockdown. Reading can be an important escape for many children, and shared reading supports language development, confidence, communication skills and resilience. However, with schools and libraries having been closed for many weeks, many children are at risk of missing out.

BookTrust NI secured funding from the Department of Education to deliver Bookstart Baby packs to all babies born in 2020. Many new parents have not had access to the same support networks during this very difficult year. Sharing books, stories and rhymes with your child from an early age can help create a lifelong reader. Bookstart Baby packs aim to encourage a love of reading in children from as young an age as possible. Reading for pleasure has enormous benefits from helping to build confidence, and develop empathy, creativity and social skills, and is also a huge pleasure in itself.

Working closely with local partners, BookTrust distributed ready-to-ship ‘care packages’ of books, tailored for early years, primary school-aged children (0-10 year olds). Partners can use these books as gifts left on doorsteps, presents for children in their care or to use in settings which remain open at this time. These book packages are being distributed across Sure Starts, schools, libraries, foodbanks, refuge centres, SEN schools and more, helping to close the gap caused by the pandemic and support families over the summer.  In Northern Ireland BookTrust has delivered over 20,000 books to families in difficult circumstances as a direct response to the pandemic.

Lockdown and getting families reading

Liz Canning, BookTrust NI, on how BookTrust were able to get books to families during the lockdown period.

Impact of early book sharing

Ciara Boyd, Health Visitor, on the impact early book sharing can have on children.

Using care packages to form relationships with families

Mervyn Bell, Smile Sure Start, on the care packages being a great tool to form relationships with families.

Developing bonding and attachment

Karen Elwood, SEHSCT, on the importance of routine for developing bonding and attachment for babies.

Sharing books with babies

Belfast mums Linda and Atlanta on sharing books with their babies

HomeTime in Northern Ireland

We’ll be featuring storytimes, drawalongs and more from some of our amazing local authors and illustrators, as well as sharing what our Northern Irish partners are doing to support families at home.

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BookTrust programmes in Northern Ireland

Letterbox Club in Northern Ireland

The Letterbox Club in Northern Ireland is funded by Fostering Network Northern Ireland as part of its Fostering Achievement programme, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Government. Once signed-up each child receives their own colourful parcel of books, maths games, stationery every month for six months.

Bookstart in Northern Ireland

Find out about Arts Council NI Author Tours and catch up with the latest news from Bookstart Northern Ireland.

Read the BookTrust NI 2019-20 newsletter

Find out about our On the Same Page conference, our partnerships delivering thousands of books to children across Northern Ireland, the new Children's Writing Fellow, author and illustrator tours and lots more...

Download the 2019-20 newsletter

BookTrust NI news and features

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