By Cian Molloy - 05 August, 2019
An SVP scheme that saw thousands of needy children receive brand new books last year will continue into the next school year.
WordPower, an initiative of the east region of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, had a very successful first year of operation.
Seventy SVP conferences across Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow participated in the scheme, which saw SVP volunteers distributing books to families with children during home visitations.
A total of 1,493 book packs were distributed to families, and around 3,054 children received brand new books as a result of the scheme.
The scheme was launched in recognition of the fact that many children from low socio-economic households have little access to books. Reading from a young age has been shown to provide many benefits including greater development of a child’s imagination, concentration levels, linguistic ability and self-confidence.
“As well as the educational benefits, I feel there are additional benefits derived by the clients,” said Thomas Nugent, of Our Lady of Mount Carmel conference in Firhouse, Dublin 12.
“The delivery of the books brings some happiness into their lives such as the joy of receiving gifts, the realisation that somebody cares for them, and the excitement of what the bags contain.”
In March this year, the SVP used World Book Day celebrations as an opportunity to promote the scheme, with a fundraising page that allowed people to buy book tokens costing €50 to benefit the reading scheme.
Then in May, WordPower became a charity partner of Scholastic, an online book retailer and organiser of book fairs in schools. Thanks to this partnership, an additional €1,200 was raised this year to provide books to needy families.
Looking to the future, those behind the WordPower scheme would like to be able to provide parents with help on reading with children, perhaps via a guidance leaflet included with reading packs. The guidance leaflet might also include information and encouragement about joining the public library.