First steps with First Page in the North West

Earlier this year we launched an exciting new project that would significantly improve the life chances of children living across the North West by building a culture of reading for pleasure that will empower them for life. Kara shares an update from First Page.

Transforming children’s and parents’ relationships with books and reading is at the heart of the First Page project. We’re aiming to embed Shared Reading into the lives of families who need it the most.

It’s been an incredibly busy couple of months for the First Page team, training and supporting partners across the eight regions that the project covers. Volunteers from family charity, Home-Start in St Helens have been trained to deliver one-to-one Shared Reading sessions in the homes of the children and families they visit on a weekly basis. Before the end of the year, we’ll also train Home-Start volunteers in Wirral, Southport and Formby.

“It was so refreshing to do something enjoyable and reflective.”

First Page Parent

Sharing Stories in the Early Years is a course designed to give staff from partner organisations and volunteers the skills, confidence and resources required to deliver Shared Reading experiences for children under five. Volunteers from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital recently completed the course and are now bringing stories to life, sharing picture books, songs and rhymes with children visiting or staying at the hospital.

Partner staff from children’s centres in Halton and Liverpool have also completed the training, and are already delivering weekly story and rhyme-times across their centres. We’ll be bringing the course to Children’s Centre in Cheshire West early next year.

Read to Lead is The Reader’s flagship training course, which equips people with the skills, confidence and insight to lead a Shared Reading group. Having completed the course earlier this month, volunteers from Rock Ferry Families Group and Tomorrow’s Women Wirral are now establishing weekly Shared Reading groups for parents and parents-to-be. During what can be a stressful and isolating time, these groups provide a space for new and expecting parents to relax and reflect.

Over the summer, the First Page team welcomed families from Alder Hey, Home-Start and Croxteth Family Matters to special Family Fun Days at The Storybarn in Calderstones Park. Over 130 children and 100 adults took part in the jam-packed programme of creative crafts, outdoor adventures, ice cream and lots of stories.

These Fun Days continue during half-term next week with families from Healthbox Cheshire and Home-Start Wirral coming along to explore the fantastic children’s story centre.

We’re also planning a series of visits to The Storybarn’s Christmas Grotto in December, creating magical experiences for families from across the North West.

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