Gavin is one of our teachers based at our office in Oldham, he has an exciting update about a project called Letterbox that he’s been involved in.
What is Letterbox?
It’s a national scheme which provides books and other educational resources like stationery and maths games to looked after children between the ages of 5 and 13 (and a parcel for those from 3 – 5 will be piloted soon and hopefully available to all by 2017) . The young people get a parcel through the post every month from May to October. For many children these days, getting anything from the Royal Mail is a novelty – and the fact that the package contains quality age-related books that can be kept forever only adds to the excitement.
How have you been involved?
I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited down to London in 2014 and 2015 to help select the books for the following year’s parcels. The panel that choose the materials are made up from a range of people with different expertise and experience such as writers, carers and librarians. The thought that some months later, young people up and down the land will be opening the parcels with interest to see what’s been chosen for them is both exciting and a little scary. We want to make each month’s contents as appealing as possible and the discussions that take place about each book are always interesting. I’m looking forward to chairing the next meeting in October 2016.
How can foster carers sign up?
Many local authorities are already signed up to the scheme. Some have a policy of sending the parcels to all their LAC, whilst others will do so on an individual basis, often using a part of the young person’s Pupil Premium money to do so. Even if your child’s belonging authority don’t participate, it may be possible to make arrangements – just contact Letterbox directly and they will be able to advise you. The current cost per year is £135 but the actual value of the books, the excitement and love of books it generates is much higher.