The Margate Bookshop is raising money to donate books to local primary schools and children in need.
Shop owner Francesca Wilkins says the idea was prompted by a donation last Christmas and the discovery that schools have limited funds to get their children new books.
Francesca has launched a gofundme with a £5000 target which equals around 1000 books and she is working with Drapers Mills Primary Academy, Northdown Primary School and Cliftonville Primary School, St. Anthony’s, St. Crispin’s, St. Gregory’s and St. Saviours so far.
The bookshop has a trade discount and will “top up” the donations, meaning that for every £100 donated, the store will be able to provide children with at least £140 worth of books.
Francesca said: “When I set up The Margate Bookshop, I knew that one of my main goals would be to encourage a larger involvement in reading and in literature and recreate the feeling I found time and time again browsing bookshelves.
“It was at school that I was first drawn to books – not so much my parents but my primary school teachers who instilled a love of reading in me. Whether or not they were meant for us to pick up, the books I read in my childhood shaped my identity and my friendships for years to come.
“The idea to help get books to children from disadvantaged backgrounds came from a customer who donated some money to The Margate Bookshop last Christmas, intending it to be made available to families on a low income. Then, one of our local primaries got in touch and I began to look into the options that are available to schools to acquire books, which I came to realise are relatively limited.
“Thanet district has the lowest children’s literacy rate and the highest child poverty rate in all of Kent. An increasing number of local schoolchildren rely on free school meals and many pupils don’t have English as a first language. Being aware of this, and realising that schools have a very limited budget for buying books, I recognised I was perhaps in a position to help.
With this in mind, The Margate Bookshop has set up the fundraiser, reaching out to our customer base and to a wider audience in Thanet, to collect money to purchase children’s books that we can then donate to local schools.”
People are also welcome to donate in person at The Margate Bookshop, where staff will also invite customers buying a children’s book (most of which are £6.99) to round their purchase up to £10.
Francesca added: “This idea was inspired by the “suspended coffee” movement in Italy, whereby a customer in a café can choose to pay for an extra coffee so that someone who cannot afford one can claim it.
“We’ve set our target at £5000, which equates to about 1000 books. With this we’re aiming to get a handful of books to children in time for Christmas. Our fundraiser however will be ongoing. There are beautiful and inspiring new books being published constantly and we feel all children should be able to delight in discovering them and get excited about the-next-book-in-the-series.”