• 2,000 books to be gifted to children in direct provision centres, hospitals, the Travelling community and homeless services by Toyota Ireland and Children’s Books Ireland.
• This donation brings the total to 8,000 books being gifted to children across the country as part of Children’s Books Ireland’s Christmas book-gifting initiative, supported by Toyota Ireland, the Arts Council and KPMG.
• All books are by Irish authors, illustrators or publishers – giving a much-needed boost to a sector that has suffered greatly this year.
This December, Children’s Books Ireland is gifting a bedtime story to children all over Ireland as they face into a difficult Christmas. With the support of Toyota Ireland, the Arts Council and KPMG, a total of 8,000 Irish books will be gifted to children and young people in centres of direct provision, hospitals, the Travelling community and homeless services nationwide.
There are currently 2,093 children in direct provision and over 3,000 experiencing homelessness. Just 13% of Travellers go on to complete secondary education in comparison with 92% of the general population . With the help of several charity partners – including the Simon Community, ISPCC, Tipperary Rural Travellers Project, and Temple Street Children’s Hospital – books will be gifted to children and families across the country so that they can share a bedtime story this Christmas.
A recent survey conducted by Scottish Book Trust revealed 92% of respondents agreed that reading is important to them in times of stress or anxiety and 98% agreed that reading supports their wellbeing. Respondents also cited reading as a form of escapism when they were in difficult situations as children.
CEO of Children’s Books Ireland, Elaina Ryan, said: ‘All over Ireland there are children who do not own a book, who may not have a culture of reading at home or who need cheering up when things are really tough. We know that books can make things a little bit better and brighter for them by bringing the joy of reading to children who need it most.’
Steve Tormey, Chief Executive of Toyota Ireland, said: ‘Toyota Ireland is proud to support such an important initiative, so that the young people of Ireland can cherish and enjoy a vast collection of stories and books this Christmas season. 2020 has been particularly hard for our youth, so it’s even more important now to bring happiness and joy to those who need it most.
We at Toyota Ireland are committed to nurturing the creativity of the great inventors, dreamers and thinkers of the future as part of our Built For A Better World brand platform, and so we hope that we can help to inspire imaginations with this selection of stories this Christmas.’
Sarah Bannan, Head of Literature at the Arts Council, said: ‘The Arts Council recognises that writers and illustrators are the heart of children’s literature. We know, too, that the magic of books is made real when they are opened and read and shared. While this has been a difficult year for so many, books remain a place where we can find solace, or joy, or new perspectives. Writers, illustrators and publishers deserve our collective support so that we can continue to discover the joy of books and reading.’
Children’s Books Ireland is a charity that supports artists, provides high quality information and recommendations to adults who influence children’s reading, and advocates for equal access to the joy of reading for all children, regardless of their circumstances. Children’s Books Ireland is the go-to organisation for coverage of children’s books across various media including Ireland AM, InTouch magazine and RTÉjr.
Toyota Ireland is a 100% Irish-owned business, responsible for the sale and distribution of Toyota passenger and commercial vehicles through its network of 46 dealerships located throughout Ireland. Toyota Ireland’s brand promise, Built for a Better World is weaved into everything that they do, and they continue to look to the ways in which they support their customers across the nation and where above all else Toyota aims to create a better world for future generations.
The Arts Council is the Irish government agency for developing the arts. The agency works in partnership with artists, arts organisations, public policy makers and others to build a central place for the arts in Irish life.