Booktrust Project for Children aged 7-13 wins Award for Excellence

Posted by pt91 at Oct 04, 2011 12:06 PM |
Project founded by University of Leicester academic wins accolade
Booktrust Project for Children aged 7-13 wins Award for Excellence

The Letterbox Club team receives their award.

Issued by Booktrust on 3 October 2011

A project founded by a University of Leicester academic to enhance literacy and numeracy skills for children aged 7-13 has won a new award.

The Letterbox Club was founded by Rose Griffiths of the University’s School of Education, and became established as a national programme in partnership with Booktrust in 2007. The project delivers parcels of reading materials, maths resources and stationery every month for 6 months to children aged between 7 and 13 in the UK. As well as having a positive socio-emotional impact, the programme has been proven to help close the gap between mainstream attainment levels, and those of children in care.

Now the project has won a prestigious Third Sector Excellence Award. The Charity Partnership award, for Letterbox Club’s work with Fostering Network Northern Ireland, as part of their Fostering Achievement programme, was presented at a ceremony held at the Lancaster London Hotel. Representatives from the Letterbox Club team at Booktrust were there to receive the award along with Rose Griffiths of University of Leicester and Robert Tapsfield, CEO of Fostering Network.

The Third Sector Excellence Awards recognise excellence across registered charities, not-for-profits, social enterprises and campaigning groups. The Awards are judged by independent experts and aim to reward examples of outstanding campaigns, strategies, projects and performance, backed up by hard evidence of success.

Marian Keen-Downs, Programme Manager of Letterbox Club said:
‘From this successful partnership, an efficient and cost effective way to encourage independent learning at home has been created and the educational achievement of many looked-after children in Northern Ireland has been improved. Booktrust is thrilled that this unique and effective programme has won a Third Sector Award.’

Rose Griffiths, from the University of Leicester, said:

‘It’s been really satisfying to see the enjoyment that so many children, and their foster families, get from being members of the Letterbox Club, and it could not have happened without the dedicated support of people working with looked-after children in every region.’

Robert Tapsfield, chief executive of the Fostering Network, said:
‘We are absolutely thrilled that the Letterbox Club project has received this award, and congratulations to our colleagues in Northern Ireland involved in making the scheme such a success.  We know that all too often children in care struggle in school and fall behind their peers in terms of academic achievement. Access to the fun and inspiring materials that the Letterbox Club sends out is helping young fostered children to meet their potential at a key stage in their development.’

Having been shortlisted for the Third Sector Big Impact Award in 2009, this award is further recognition of Letterbox Club as an outstanding programme for looked-after children. Nominations for the Charity Partnership Award included Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, the National Maritime Museum and the Imperial War Museum, National Federation of Women's Institutes and the Prison Reform Trust and Scottish Association for Mental Health, Get Active Community Engagement Projects.

A recent independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the Letterbox Club in Northern Ireland carried out by Queen's University, Belfast, showed clear evidence that children who participated in the Letterbox Club made significant progress in their reading accuracy and comprehension and also their number skills. 2,356 children in Northern Ireland aged 0-18 are in the care system.

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Notes to editors

Booktrust is an independent charity dedicated to encouraging people of all ages and cultures to engage with books. The written word underpins all our activity and enables us to fulfil our vision of inspiring a lifelong love of books for all. Booktrust is responsible for a number of successful national reading promotions, sponsored book prizes and creative reading projects aimed at encouraging readers to discover and enjoy books. These include the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Children’s Laureate and Bookstart, the national programme that works through locally based organisations to give a free pack of books to young children, with guidance materials for parents and carers. See

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