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Legion awards grant to shared family reading charity

1,250 Forces children and parents across the country to receive books and scrapbooks in the read, share, talk and stay connected initiative

A grant from The Royal British Legion of £32,465 has been awarded to Reading Force, the charity working to support Forces families nationwide and overseas to read together. With this grant the charity will launch the project in Legion branches, and reach many more Forces families and their extended family members, helping families to stay close and connected during tours of duty, training postings, and moves of home. The tri-service charity is dedicated to improving communication and keeping family members connected by encouraging them and supporting them to share stories and chat about them.

The grant is being used for the production of the unique colourful Reading Force scrapbooks – given to families to collate their thoughts about the book shared in letters, drawings, and photos – and to host launch events and author events in schools, welfare centres and Service clubs to raise awareness of the initiative and participation. Working with the Legion, the charity will focus on supporting more families and increasing intergenerational activity by involving extended family members and grandparents in Reading Force.

The initiative was founded in 2011, piloted in Aldershot, and has grown to become an international charity offering its service to all serving Forces families, ex-Forces, cadets, and reservists. To date it has given nearly 7,000 books to children and distributed over 70,000 of its signature scrapbooks.

Families report doing Reading Force has been beneficial in keeping them connected, providing continuity, and making deployed parents feel more involved with family life at home.

I enjoyed being able to share a book with my family even though I wasn’t at home. It really made me feel included.” Dad

Reading Force has very much helped my children get through this very long deployment, so thank you very much.” Mum

Founder of Reading Force, Dr Alison Baverstock, is thrilled to be partnering with the Legion to reach more families:

“We are delighted to be working with the Legion to reach more Forces families, both because of the financial support provided and the better access we will achieve to those we seek to support. We are pleased the Legion has chosen to support the role we play in promoting individual and family resilience – through the simple process of encouraging more people to connect through reading. We know Reading Force helps support the emotional, social and mental wellbeing of Forces families and as a result of this new collaboration we will be able to do more, for more families.”

Daniel Elser, Head of Grants & Social Policy for The Royal British Legion, said:

“This funding will enable Reading Force to continue to provide its unique offering in support of the Armed Forces community, helping family members – whether young or old, or based in the UK or overseas – stay in touch through sharing books and stories. Reading Force’s ambition to keep families connected is one that we share, and we’re excited to work together on this initiative.”

The funding was provided through the Legion’s External Grants programme, which is open for applications from organisations running, or planning, charitable activities in support of the Armed Forces community. For more information on the External Grants programme, visit http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-support/external-grants.

For more information about Reading Force go to www.readingforce.org.uk

For further advice and guidance for Serving personnel, veterans and their families, please call the Legion on Freephone number 0808 802 8080, from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week. For more information on the charity, visit www.britishlegion.org.uk

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