Scottish Book Trust launches appeal

New survey reveals importance of reading in times of stress

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing, has launched a Christmas fundraising appeal to give books to families in need.

Many families will be struggling this Christmas, with demand for food banks in Scotland more than doubling during lockdown and set to rise. Scottish Book Trust’s appeal aims to bring some comfort and togetherness over the festive season by giving books to families who are depending food banks and community hubs.

A new survey, run by the charity during lockdown, has revealed 92% of respondents agreed that reading is important to them in times of stress or anxiety. Reading made people feel less isolated (64%) and 98% agreed that reading supports their wellbeing. Nine out of ten respondents also said reasons for reading in lockdown were to escape, relax and that it made them happy. They also highlighted reading to escape as a child when they were in difficult situations, or to cope with mental health issues as an adult

Marc Lambert, CEO Scottish Book Trust, commented: “We know many families across Scotland are facing extremely difficult circumstances.  Our new research has really underlined the difference that having access to books and stories makes, including family bonding, a sense of escapism and improving mental health and wellbeing. This appeal aims to spread some joy and bring calm and togetherness for families at a time of ever increasing need.  Everyone deserves a little bit of magic at Christmas so please do donate £5 if you can.”

Research has also shown families with children are being hit hardest, with a 95% increase in food parcels given to households with kids during the pandemic. Scottish Book Trust is working with food banks and community hubs across Scotland to reach as many families in need as possible.

One of the food banks Scottish Book Trust will be supporting is Cyrenians Fareshare. Lynne Collie, Cyrenians FareShare Service Manager, commented:

“At our FareShare depot, we are redistributing 3-4 times the amount of food we would normally distribute at this time of year due to the increased demand caused in part by Covid19. Many families, as well as individual households, across Central and South East Scotland are struggling to access healthy and nutritious food, in the quantities they need. Being able to give out books alongside these vital meal packages will make a big difference to many people this winter and we’re delighted to be working with Scottish Book Trust to add this extra bonus for those we’re supporting.”

Sue O’Neill-Berest, Cyrenians Service Manager for Food Education, continued: “The prepared meals service we put in place at our Community Cook School at the start of COVID has been a lifeline for many people during the past few months and there is still need for emergency meal provision in many communities.”

A number of publishers are also supporting the appeal with donations of books from Simon & Schuster, Walker Books, Nosy Crow, Collins, Egmont, Harper Collins and author Cat Cubie.

For further information on how to support Scottish Book Trust’s Christmas Book Appeal, please visit www.scottishbooktrust.com/christmasap

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