Thousands of Peterborough families were able to pick up more than their shopping in the city centre over the summer holidays by visiting a Pop-up Literacy Hub. Aiming to boost literacy levels in the city, the space was a result of an innovative partnership between the National Literacy Trust Hub in Peterborough, City College Peterborough, Peterborough City Council and supported by other local organisations.
An empty shop unit on Bridge Street was transformed into a buzzing hive of literacy activity which was visited by more than 2,840 children, parents and members of the community. Over 6,000 books were given to families to take home after they spent time immersed in storytelling and arts and craft activities, as well as healthy eating workshops.
Each week the space had a fun theme including Jungle Safari, Under the Sea and Healthy Eating, so families could get creative making animal masks, parrot bookmarks, tropical fish mobiles and fruit boat flags. Visitors also took part in competitions, submitting a range of delicious recipes from around the world including Chicken Chapli Kebabs from Pakistan and Danish Frikadeller, for the chance of being included in a Peterborough Family Cookbook.
Parents and children shared books together in the storytelling areas whilst also expressing enthusiasm of adding their favourite books to the ‘literacy tree’ that was featured in the Literacy Hub. There were plenty of opportunities to talk with staff from the various organisations who shared information on literacy, including tips on encouraging children to read more, details of library membership and courses and activities available across the city.
Robina Rashad, mother to four children aged 6 to 12 said “We have really enjoyed visiting this fun space every week which has allowed us to spend quality time together sharing stories and taking part in the great selection of activities.
We’ve all found something which interests us - from entering a recipe for pancakes for the Peterborough Family Cookbook, to decorating a leaf for the literacy tree and creating a storybook. One of my sons has had such a great time here that he has been asking when the next one will be!”
Manager of the National Literacy Trust Hub in Peterborough, Sally Atkinson said “I’m so proud of Peterborough for making this inspiring initiative possible. It was fantastic to meet so many families who were enjoying the Pop-up’s fun festival atmosphere - It really became part of the community and provided a great opportunity for everyone to discuss books, exchange advice on literacy challenges, get creative and relax with a story.
The National Literacy Trust Hub in Peterborough is all about harnessing the assets and talents within businesses, organisations and service providers in the area, so it’s been fantastic to see people from all corners of the city working together to celebrate literacy with such dedication.”
Pat Carrington, Principal of City College Peterborough comments “I am delighted that this initiative has been so successful. It is great to hear all the positive feedback from parents and the community and that we could make a difference in delivering this project to the levels of literacy throughout the city.
It is amazing to know that we have been able to encourage countless parents and children to spend time reading together and strengthening their family relationships.
The dedication from all those involved has been a welcoming site and I thank everyone who has taken the time to engage with this initiative and make it a success.”
Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Education, Skills, and University, and Communications, Councillor John Holdich said “We’re delighted that this year’s Pop-up Literacy Hub in Peterborough has been such a tremendous success. Thanks to City College Peterborough and the other local partners who have pulled out all the stops to ensure they could host such a creative programme for an impressive five weeks, the bright and colourful space has really helped families boost their children’s learning throughout the summer holidays.
We’re proud to support the National Literacy Trust Hub in Peterborough’s work to extend the reach of literacy support in the area and we’re looking forward to see what our partnership can achieve next!”
The pop-up literacy shop was run by a large team of volunteers from City College Peterborough who ran the activities and storytelling and staff from Peterborough’s Barnardo’s Children’s centres, Spurgeons Children’s Centres, Boots Opticians in Peterborough, Vivacity, Peterborough City Council and the National Literacy Trust.