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Hundreds of free educational books provided to Sheffield families

Photograph of two children reading a book

Sheffield-based publisher, Twinkl, has partnered with South Yorkshire Futures, a Sheffield Hallam University-led programme, to provide free educational books to families across the region.

The South Yorkshire Futures programme improves education and raises aspirations for young people in South Yorkshire, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Coordinating the university’s civic response to COVID-19, the South Yorkshire Futures team reached out to Twinkl after recognising the need to support families facing particular challenges at this time in a range of ways.

Twinkl has gifted 810 copies of ‘Seren’s Seasons’, an illustrated book that teaches young children about the weather and seasons. The book is a Twinkl Originals edition, a range of books that the company has been producing from its Sheffield headquarters since 2018.

The books were donated through Twinkl’s Book Club, where members receive a brand new Twinkl Originals book every half term but have the option to donate this to charity.

The donated books will be distributed through Sheffield Family Centres that are still open and providing support safely across the city. Sheffield has seven Family Centres, which provide advice and services for families with children under five, as well as maternity care and support for expectant parents.

Committed to its work to help those who teach and support learning, Twinkl also recently partnered with Sheffield S6 foodbank by donating 500 children’s books that were distributed with food parcels to families in the Sheffield community.

Cllr Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children Young People and Families at Sheffield City Council, said: ”‘I believe that finding the magic in books and learning to read is a wonderful gift to give to children, young people, and families so I was thrilled to hear of the generosity of Jonathan and Susie Seaton from Twinkl, who have donated new books that will be distributed through our Family Centres to children and families across the City. Their kindness and community spirit is another shining example of how good deeds can come out of difficult times.

“Many thanks to them, Sheffield Hallam University and South Yorkshire Futures. I’m sure that the children, and their families, will love reading Seren’s Season and finding all about the weather and how it changes.”

Helen Lomas, Assistant Service Manager for the Commissioning Inclusion and Learning Service at Sheffield City Council, said: “Receiving these books to distribute across Sheffield Family Centres has been a real bonus and will be greatly received by families we work with in Sheffield. The partnerships Sheffield City Council has developed whilst working under difficult circumstances have been excellent and enabled support to continue to vulnerable families.”

Sally Pearse, Strategic Lead for Early Years at South Yorkshire Futures, said: “We have been privileged to be part of some fantastic partnerships working between organisations and groups that have not previously worked together in response to COVID-19. The generous donation of these resources to families in Sheffield and their distribution by the Family Centres is an excellent example of this.”

Jonathan Seaton, Co-Founder and CEO at Twinkl, said: “At Twinkl, we believe that all children should have access to learning, whatever the circumstance and we know we need to help now more than ever.

“As a digital business, we recognise that not everybody has access to devices, data or printing so we were delighted when South Yorkshire Futures reached out to us for help getting physical books to children. It is wonderful that we have been able to provide support and I hope that these books go some way towards helping families through this time. I would like to say a huge thank you to our members, who donated their copies of the book and the teams at Twinkl, South Yorkshire Futures, Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield City Council, who have made this happen.”

Twinkl’s mission is to help those who teach and the company offers over 645,000 teaching and learning materials on its website, which are all teacher created and checked. The company has recently created a bespoke Home Learning Hub, full of daily activities and materials, to support parents, teachers and carers during school closures.