10,000 free books for children in Wales’ most disadvantaged communities

The Welsh Government has announced new funding to provide 10,000 free books to children living in the most disadvantaged parts of Wales.

Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty Vaughan Gething has revealed that children living in Flying Start areas will benefit from free books to help continued learning at home. Each book bag will contain a bilingual and an English language book, a set of crayons and a scribble pad.

Flying Start aims to make a decisive difference to the lives of children under the age of four and their families in the most deprived communities. It offers parents free quality childcare for 2-3 year olds, parenting support, an enhanced health visitor service and help for early language development.

A key part of Flying Start is developing a child’s language. The extra books will allow health visitors to highlight to parents the importance of reading with their children to improve their language development.

The books, costing £100,000, will be available from this month and will be in addition to those provided by the Welsh Government backed Bookstart programme, which gives free bilingual book packs to every child in Wales at nine-months and two-years old.

23,579 children are currently benefitting from Flying Start and Ministers want the scheme to cover 36,000 children and their families by 2016. The Welsh Government is investing more than £275 million of revenue funding into the programme over the four years of the expansion (2012-16) and £25 million of capital funding to develop the infrastructure.