The Trust has supported a number of projects since being set up:
The Trust is pleased to support this years Oxfordshire Book Award, which is organised by Primary and Secondary school librarians and voted for entirely by children. The Siobhan Dowd Trust supplied books to increase participation among schools where the need is greatest. The award is in three categories: Best Book (Secondary school category), Best Book (Primary School category) and Best Picture Book (Primary School Category). A Monster Calls is nominated in the Secondary category, but the Trust was careful to supply ALL the books on the shortlist, and it’s the young readers who will be judging…
Lunchboox is a weekly club run in Oxfordshire schools by Bookfeast.Its simple aim is to encourage Year 5 and 6 pupils to enjoy books and talk about them with confidence. Participating schools get support and know-how to start up and run a successful club – expert advice on the practicalities; information and resources about books, authors and related activities; provision of a group leader – or advice on how to recruit one – and an open invitation to attend Bookfeast’s author events and Schools Festival.
Cavan Library Service applied to the Trust for funding to resource the printing of resource packs for use in primary and secondary schools on each of Siobhan’s books. It is part of a hugely ambitious and celebratory project which involves the whole community in looking at and enjoying the work of a single author. Plays, Creative writing, artwork and lectures are all scheduled in a year-long celebration of Siobhan’s work. Cavan is in the Republic of Ireland, but shares a border with Northern Ireland, and is one of Ulster’s nine counties. In september, members of Siobhan’s family were proud to attend the official launch night of “One Cavan, One writer”, along with the Irish Minister for Training and Skills, Mr Ciarán Cannon, TD.
The Trust funded the purchase of books to be given away to 2,000 families participating in “Bookplay” sessions run thoughout Lambeth. Ran by The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), they are drop in, structured sessions designed to encourage an early love of reading for pre-school children (and their parents or carers). The majority of sessions also have a Southwark library worker on hand to encourage use of the local libraries.
Funding was given to finance the hire of projection equipment for an Anti-cuts / Pro-libraries film: it was shown (as a flash mob) on Feb 2nd on the main entrance to the British Library. The film started as a protest about the closure of the local library in Taunton, but has become a rallying cry against all the threatened closures of libraries in the UK, attracting a large worldwide audience on YouTube, and screened at the TUC rally in Hyde Park in march 2011.
Funding was given to buy books for local schoolchildren to accompany visits by Childrens’ Authors into schools in East London. Part of a bigger festival, The Big Write, organized by Discover, it features over 65 events and engages more than 2,000 people.
Funding was given to support the work of First Story: their stated aim is to support and inspire creativity in secondary schools. They pay for authors to run weekly after-school creative-writing workshops. At the end of the workshops, a professionally produced anthology is produced and a book launch event is held in each school in celebration. From Sept 2010, there were 23 residencies under way in schools in London, Nottingham and Oxford. The trust grant is to help establish a reading forum/on-line book group supporting the work done in schools by First Story.
The Siobhan Dowd Trust’s first grant was to Booktrust to launch the pilot programme Letterbox Club Green, aimed at improving the educational outlook for looked-after children in the early years of secondary school. The pilot involves 60 children from 12 local authorities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The (bright green) parcel‘s contents have been specially developed to suit the needs of 11-13 year olds, and includes a number of specially selected fiction and non-fiction titles plus stationary so the recipients can hopefully get writing themselves.