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National Friendly supports reading during lockdown for Bristol primary school pupils with £1,000 donation

07/07/2020

Children at an inner city Bristol school are enjoying reading books at home during lockdown thanks to the support of National Friendly, the Bristol-based mutual society.

It is supporting Stories at Home, a Bristol City Council initiative which has been providing vulnerable families and disadvantaged pupils with access to books in their own homes during the Covid-19 lockdown.

National Friendly has donated £1,000 donation to Cabot Primary School in St Pauls under the scheme. The mutual society was introduced to the school three years ago to help to raise the literacy attainment levels of pupils struggling with their learning and reading.

The school serves a diverse community with nearly 90% of its pupils speaking English as an additional language.

National Friendly PR & corporate partnerships executive Kurtis Reece said: “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to step in again and help at Cabot Primary School.

“As part of our ethos, we have been enthusiastic about getting involved in projects which will help shape the future for young people. The Covid-19 pandemic has really shone a spotlight on schools, disadvantaged children and the children of key workers.”

As well as enabling the school to buy books, National Friendly’s donation is also funding paper, pencils and pens to help support pupils who have now returned to school and as well as the families of the children who are continuing their education from home.

Cabot headteacher Tom Burton said “Children – and adults – at Cabot love reading. Our library is the heart of our school and we know that many of our families rely on the school and local libraries to feed their appetite for great books.

“It is wonderful to know that the children are getting books of their own to read and share with their families which will enable them to support their learning and bring some joy in these difficult times. Teachers at the school can’t wait to hear what the children think of their new books.”

Ablaze Bristol primary project manager Catherine Correia added: “National Friendly is enthusiastic about getting involved in beneficial projects with Cabot Primary, its Ablaze partner school, which will help to raise pupils’ confidence and aspirations.

“Although National Friendly’s volunteer reading buddies are unable to read with their pupils at the moment, this generous donation will help to support the attainment and skill levels and make a difference to the lives of local people. It is a wonderful example of a great partnership and strong collaboration.”

Bristol City Council teaching & learning consultant Debbie Miles said: “Books are such a vital tool in every young person’s life. They really do unlock doors, inspire and support as well as enhance the learning for children in a fun and effective way. This donation from National Friendly will provide books which will go on giving year after year.”

National Friendly has also paid for trips for Cabot Primary children to the M Shed museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition and performances at the Bristol Hippodrome.

National Friendly was established in 1868. It has no shareholders and exists to serve the best interests of its 33,400 members. Its head office is on Bristol’s Queen Square.