Making a difference

Our partnership with Imagination Library to deliver books to children in Hastings and St Leonards is delivering real benefits right now. Below are a few testimonies from the parents of children receiving our books, describing how being part of the programme is benefiting their children, and themselves.

Names have been changed to protect identities.

Ellie and Dolly’s story

Young mum Ellie was told about Imagine Nation and their gift of children’s books by Turner House. She wanted to help her 10 month old daughter Dolly to learn colours. At first Ellie thought that her daughter was too young to benefit but soon changed her mind when reading the books improved Dolly’s speech by getting her to repeat the sounds.

“My health visitor said reading to her has definitely helped”.

Ellie said that without the programme she would not have started reading to her baby as she was not a big fan of reading, but she has seen how much Dolly enjoys the books sent by Imagine Nation.

“The scheme has definitely made me closer to my daughter, she comes and sits close to me when I read.”

Ellie feels that she used to be quite an angry person but reading to Dolly has calmed her down and now she has started reading her own book.

Ellie is full of praise for the scheme and thinks everyone should be part of it. She wants her daughter to be smart and do well in her life and feels that enjoying books will help.

Angela and Sophie’s story

Angela found herself pregnant and homeless at 15 and heard about the Imagine Nation scheme in the refuge where she now lives with Sophie who is now 19 months old.

“I thought it would be a good idea to get books for Sophie instead of watching television.”

Sophie didn’t have any books as her mum thought she was too young to understand them and for the first few weeks that was true. Angela noticed that Sophie began to show interest in a book about animals, she especially likes farm animals. Once she started to understand a little better Sophie pretended to read them, babbling and using the odd word. She became more and more interested and now Angela has 6 or 7 children’s books in her room. Sophie likes nothing better than to pick a book and sit on mum’s bed babbling and reading a story to mum. Sophie’s current favourite books from the scheme are Peppa Pig and The Night Garden.

“Sometimes Sophie will fall asleep on me, she likes to have skin contact while I read to her, I lift my shirt up and she puts her head on my belly then she falls asleep while I read. I think it has brought us closer together.”

“The only time I read is when I read to Sophie, she sits in my bed after her bath and we read a book together.”

Angela thinks the Imagine Nation book scheme is good as you get new books for free. She used to look at books in charity shops but they were often damaged and had drawing in them or missing pages. Angela thinks the scheme is good for people on a small budget as she now has 6 books which would have cost her £30.00 to buy new.

Deborah and Maddie’s story

Deborah has a one year old daughter, Maddie, and a newborn baby boy, Oscar. Maddie has been receiving Imagine Nation books for 3 months.

Deborah comes from a large family and was not close to her parents although she has grown closer to her mother since Maddie was born. Deborah struggled at school because she is dyslexic; she was bullied too, so didn’t enjoy it.

Deborah says that since she started reading the books to Maddie at bedtime she settles down better. Maddie likes looking at the pictures and wants the book read to her again. She points at the book and picks it up and when she comes into the playroom she picks up a book not a toy.

Since receiving the books Maddie is more relaxed and settles down better at night, she isn’t so grumpy so doesn’t stay up so late. She plays with her books.

Deborah wants Maddie to ‘stick’ to books, she wants her to have an early start so that she does her GCSEs. She would like to get Maddie reading early so that she goes ‘the right way’. Deborah wants Maddie to be able to overcome her problems and to be able to come to her mum with her problems.

“Reading books will help Maddie to write and then when she has problems she can write about them. She won’t start off school behind and struggling. I want her to read and to exercise, not watch T.V..”

Deborah can see the benefits books are making to Maddie, and is keen to ensure Oscar benefits too.

“I like the books and I’m going to start reading to my son next week. He goes to bed later but I can read to him after his bath.”