Youngsters aged five and under recently enjoyed a free storytelling event at SouthGate in Bath as part of the centre’s partnership with the National Literacy Trust.
Local children and their parents were encouraged to get involved with each tale, told by an expert storyteller.
The session’s theme was animals, and the families enjoyed interacting with stories such as ‘Giraffe’s Can’t Dance’ and ‘The Chimpanzees of Happy Town’ as well as one of the storyteller’s own tales about a butterfly.
SouthGate, which is co-owned by British Land, also organised free face painting and gave attendees animal-related books to take home.
The event was part of the Young Readers Programme, an award-winning initiative with the National Literacy Trust, aimed at improving children’s literacy by motivating them to read for enjoyment.
SouthGate also hosted literary-themed Young Readers Programme workshops with 260 pupils from St Andrews and St Martin’s Garden Primary School and Twerton Infant School.
Every child went away with a book in hand, and the centre donated £100 in vouchers for the schools to spend on brand new books for their libraries.
Since the partnership started in 2011, British Land has gifted over 127,000 books to more than 42,500 children across the country, and has helped encourage more than 1,200 children in Bath to read for fun outside of school.
Guy Henderson, centre manager at SouthGate Bath, said: “It was great to see so many children captivated by the storytellers and getting involved with our activities too.
“This was the first storytime session we’ve held for the public, but I hope events like this can continue to bring books to life and help develop young peoples’ imaginations, creativity and confidence.
“We really enjoy working with the National Literacy Trust on this programme and definitely think the local children who attended had as much fun as we did!”
Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, added: “Encouraging children to develop a love of reading from a young age can transform their futures, helping them do better in school and improving their chances of leading happy, healthy and successful lives.
“We’d like to thank British Land, SouthGate and its retailers for their work supporting the Young Readers Programme again this year.”