Travis Perkins Managed Services, a supply chain solutions provider committed to community investment, recently completed a literacy project in partnership with Cottsway Housing and Storytime Magazine.
Cottsway were contacted by Storytime, a magazine for children aged 3-9 years. It’s produced by publishing professionals and parents who were disappointed by the quality of magazines for children which often have little reading content and lots of adverts. Storytime are a social enterprise who work with parents, local authorities, housing associations and charities to promote children’s literacy.
The aim of the magazine is to give families the opportunity to encourage children to read with great stories and exciting content in an engaging format. The format is important as it works for reluctant readers who won’t pick up a book as well as children who read books for enjoyment.
Storytime wanted to work with Cottsway Housing and promote the magazine to Cottsway customers, many of whom are on low incomes, live in rural areas and find it hard to access libraries on a regular basis. Due to Cottsway’s partnership with procurement solutions provider TPMS and a successful application, they received £2,400 from the Travis Perkins Community Fund to offer 100 yearly subscriptions to families. Travis Perkins key objectives are to improve the lives of people living in diverse communities and support health and wellbeing – which aligned perfectly with the literacy objective.
How does Storytime contribute to social value?
Every year Storytime surveys the parents, carers and teachers of their readers to find out what impact receiving Storytime has had on both time spent reading and crucially, enjoyment from reading. From their 2017 reader survey they know that only 36.4% of readers who have just started receiving Storytime manage to read for the recommended 20 minutes a day or more. After one year this has increased massively to 64.4%. What’s even better is that the proportion of reluctant readers (classed as those who spend under 20 minutes a day reading) who now enjoy reading more since receiving Storytime has also increased – 70.1% of those surveyed. This increases to 84.6% when looking at children from the most deprived backgrounds.
Outcomes of the literacy project
Cottsway offered the Storytime subscription to families through Twitter and Facebook as well as setting up a display in reception. Neighbourhood Housing Officers and Income Officers offered it to families they were in contact with and promoted it through local Primary Schools where there are a high proportion of Cottsway homes. Cottsway were pleased with the uptake to the subscription and families have commented:
“My son loves it. He reads it to my granddaughter.”
“I like that I can read some poems, I can do some colouring and it tells me instructions to make stuff.”