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Books on Prescription for Families with Young Children in Lockdown

The Improving Me Partnership and the national Social Prescribing Network have formed a unique alliance with the BookTrust, the UK’s largest reading charity; to promote a new digital hub for young families during lockdown. This FREE BookTrust resource is packed with books, videos, games, recipes, competitions, quizzes and much more. From activity sheets to live draw-alongs, BookTrust HomeTime hosts an extraordinary menu of ideas created by leading children’s authors and illustrators, developed in response to the closure of schools in the UK, all designed to keep children entertained and most importantly ,get them reading throughout Covid 19.

Catherine McClennan the Improving Me Partnership Director says, ‘We have been developing a strong focus on social prescribing for women and children over the last 3 years. We have had a particular interest in how cultural interventions can support wellbeing for pregnant women and families. To this end we reached out during Covid 19 to build what at first sight may seem like an unusual alliance with a group of experts drawn from the world of books; to harness the time honoured tradition of bibliotherapy-or books on prescription to us- a well evidenced and effective practice of encouraging reading for therapeutic effect. We are really interested in how reading for pleasure, distraction and escape can support emotional wellbeing and build resilience. ‘

CEO of BookTrust Diana Gerald said, “At the BookTrust we are working hard to ensure that we continue to reach children, families and schools, especially those who need us most, with books and resources. As part of this, we are developing our support for families, as well as those schools and nurseries that are still open.  Time at home is a great opportunity to find inspiration in books, discover a new habit, and uncover a new passion.”

Catherine adds, ‘We are very excited about further developments as this alliance grows. It was incredible in just one week our call for partners was answered by the BookTrust and Liverpool Libraries, Libraries Connected, the Reading Agency and the Association of Senior Children's and Education Librarians (ASCEL). And a first result was on the table by the end of that week from the amazing BookTrust, dedicated to transforming lives by getting children and families reading. Watch this space! There are more developments in the pipeline.’

Dr Marie Polley Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Social Prescribing Network comments, ‘This HomeTime resource links strongly with the NHS England consultation on draft national guidance for social prescribing for children and young people. Social prescribing – the means by which people of all ages can find their way in to local initiatives that compassionately support individuals to improve their wellbeing with the help of a link worker- is a growing movement delivering fantastic results for people all over the UK. Traditionally used to help adults find non-medical ways of combatting loneliness, isolation and stress, social prescribing has huge potential for children and young people too.’

BookTrust transforms lives by getting children and families reading

BookTrust is the UK's largest reading charity. They reach 3.9 million children each year with books, resources and support to help develop a love of reading. BookTrust works in every region in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. They work through every local authority via children’s centres, schools, libraries and health professionals to reach families who need them most.  They want every child to have the good start in life that reading brings. That’s why their programmes reach the families of every child across the country with books, resources, support and guidance.  Their flagship programme Bookstart, was the world’s first national book-gifting scheme providing free books for every child in England and Wales from 0-5 years.

Their prizes and awards celebrate writing from the UK and beyond, bringing new releases to a wider audience and getting readers to engage with different types of books.

The Social Prescribing Network

The Social Prescribing Network consists of health professionals, researchers, academics, social prescribing practitioners, representatives from the community and voluntary sector, commissioners and funders, patients and citizens. They are working together to share knowledge and best practice, to support social prescribing at a local and national levels and to inform good quality research and evaluation. Over the past year, they have worked with many different organisations to launch International Social Prescribing Day and The Social Prescribing Network Awards.