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Over a thousand children are getting free books

A life-changing book club, founded by Dolly Parton, has reached a milestone thanks to Wheatley Foundation.
Paddy Gray 1[4374]

The Foundation, part of Wheatley Group, is working with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to help children in its communities develop their reading skills.

Children across Scotland have now received almost 32,000 free books thanks to the partnership.

The scheme – set up by the singer in 1995 – sees children under the age of five sent a specially-chosen book free of charge every month until their fifth birthday.

Dolly Parton was inspired to start her Imagination Library by her father’s inability to read and write. Today, her programme spans five countries and gifts over two million free books each month to children around the world.

During Scottish Book Week, Wheatley Foundation has announced that a total of 1461 young children have signed up to the scheme – with 31,736 books delivered since 2018.

The books are available to Wheatley tenants living in the central belt and south of Scotland.

Kayleigh Knight, a 31-year old mum of two from Whitburn, said: “My son Kai has been receiving the books for the last three years and as he has turned five, he recently got his last book.

“We really enjoy sitting together to read. The books are great quality and he’s had loads of different stories, which really helps his imagination and learning. His favourites are ones with animals in them.

“Kai has autism, so it can be difficult to take him to a library. Getting them delivered to the house, particularly during the pandemic, was a great help. We also pass some of the books to his young cousin so he can benefit from them too.

“I also enjoy reading – when I get time! My daughter is an avid reader too.”

The Wheatley Foundation was set up and funded by Wheatley Group and its subsidiaries to benefit Wheatley customers and communities.

Wheatley Foundation Chair Professor Paddy Gray OBE said: “To mark Scottish Book Week, we are delighted to share that nearly 32,000 books have been distributed to children in Wheatley communities.

“We’ve been working in partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library since 2018 and it’s great to see how many children are getting access to a book every month to help them discover the joys of reading.”

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