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Better Start Imagine reaches 1,000 babies

Better Start Imagine storyteller and Safa Young

Over 1,000 babies are now receiving a free book every month as part of Better Start Bradford’s free book giving project, Better Start Imagine.

The scheme provides a free book per month to every child, born after 1 January 2016, in the Better Start Bradford area (Bowling and Barkerend, Bradford Moor and Little Horton areas of Bradford) until their fourth birthday, to support literacy skills development.

So far 1,005 babies have been signed up and have received books by a wealth of popular children’s authors including Beatrix Potter, Nick Sharratt, Rod Campbell, Eric Hill and Janet and Allan Ahlberg.

The Better Start Imagine project builds upon the previous successful delivery of a similar scheme in the Canterbury area of Bradford. The project is being delivered by BHT Early Education and Training as part of the international Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Better Start Bradford is funded by the National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund.

Leanne Souster, Better Start Imagine Coordinator, BHT Early Education and Training, said: “We are really pleased with how the book gifting has been welcomed. We have also introduced rhyme time for babies and storytelling sessions at local libraries and centres to reach as many children under four as possible.”

Better Start Imagine has changed my baby son’s life for the better

Noshi Iqbal, mum to Salman, one, said: “Better Start Imagine has changed my baby son’s life for the better. We try to get along to the rhyme time sessions as Salman is learning lots of words through nursery rhymes such as ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’. I want to thank the Better Start Imagine team for a great seven months and the wonderful start to Salman’s life which will be the foundation to studying and learning.”

Local dad, Darryl Young regularly takes his children Fawzan, three and Safa, one, to the storytelling and rhyme time sessions at Laisterdyke Library. He said: “Books give us that special time together and help us learn and create new ways to read. Through the library sessions, I have watched my children’s social skills and concentration develop. Safa particularly loves Snap Croc and has even learnt to brush her teeth as well as develop a love for crocodiles!”

Michaela Howell, programme director of Better Start Bradford, says: “We want local families to really embrace the importance of reading books to their children. It’s great fun and also helps to boost their language and communication skills. We’re really encouraging people in the Better Start Bradford area to sign up to Better Start Imagine project.”

To find out more about Better Start Imagine please visit www.betterstartbradford.org.uk

To find out more about upcoming Better Start Imagine activities visit www.bhtearlyed.org.uk