We are an innovative charity using trained home-reading volunteers to improve the reading of disadvantaged young people from 0-11. Doorstep Library overcomes the barriers faced by some of London’s most deprived communities to break the cycle of poverty through reading. Since our founding in 2010, we have helped introduce the magic of books and reading for pleasure to more than 1,600 children. Our first project launched in Hammersmith and Fulham in 2008 and we now run 14 projects in three London boroughs, serving over 500 children and lending over 20,000 books each year.
We now plan to explore the potential to expand to a blended delivery model, offering support via online means (Online Reading Corner) to a much wider number of children in the UK, while offering a mix of face-to-face and online services to existing families, and growing our on the ground presence in London.
Our Online Reading Corner will enable us to stay true to our charitable aims by supporting children from London’s most deprived areas to read for pleasure through online story-telling and interactive reading sessions. Through a combination of group sessions targeted for different age groups and one-to-one sessions between families and volunteers, it will enable us to continue to reach families, virtually, in the home-environment, to bring the joy of storytime and encourage positive home learning environments. It also offers opportunities for us to connect with isolated parents/ carers, befriending and connecting them with key local services.
Launching the Online Reading Corner provides an opportunity to take our reading programmes into the homes of 2,000 new children living in London’s most disadvantaged areas over the next three years, and possibly further across the UK. Importantly, the project allows us to support more disadvantaged children, using reading for pleasure as a simple but effective tool to break the cycle of poverty. In doing so, we also support their parents to become more connected, we support their communities by linking up with local efforts and organisations, and we support the sector by offering a solution to the real and growing problem of academic inequality, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
This provides an opportunity to both adapt our existing service for a changing world but also for Doorstep Library as an organisation to make a step-change. We need to invest in systems, staff and skills to make our online services accessible to a vulnerable group and continue to learn how best to support them.
The project remains true to our charitable vision: all children thriving in homes where the love of reading is embraced. It provides a scalable solution, which once piloted, reviewed and potentially improved within the first year, can be rolled out further across London and beyond. It provides a pathway to new partnerships and collaborations, and the opportunity to benefit the many children in the UK who need support. As for so many charities, 2020 was a difficult year in which we had to adapt quickly. The pandemic has demonstrated that in times of crisis, the families we serve have needed us more than ever.
Vision, mission, values
Our Vision is - All children thriving in homes where the love of reading is embraced.
Delivered with Commitment and Passion
Aiming for Inclusion so that no-one is left behind
Our approach is Child centred with active parent involvement
Aiming for Learning through reading as a means to realise aspirations
Our approach is Low key, friendly and fun
Involving Support from wider community and volunteers
Supporting children experiencing disadvantage to become keen and confident readers;
Supporting parents to take an active role in reading for pleasure with their children;
Supporting families to connect to a wider range of cultural, social and support services.