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HomeNewsCharity WidePremier League supports Barnsley FC Community Trust to give free books to local primary school pupils

Premier League supports Barnsley FC Community Trust to give free books to local primary school pupils

To mark World Book Day 2024 (Thursday 7 March), the Premier League will be giving away more than 50,000 free books to children across England and Wales through its Premier League Primary Stars education programme. 

Since Premier League Primary Stars began in 2017, more than 300,000 free books have been gifted to young people with an estimated value of £2.4million, thanks to the education programme’s partnership with the National Literacy Trust. 

Launched in 2017 and available to every primary school in England and Wales, Premier League Primary Stars uses the appeal of football to help children to be active and develop essential life skills.

Barnsley FC Community Trust is one of 100 professional football club community organisations across England and Wales to give away the free books to local primary schools, with 250 books being gifted to local primary schools in Barnsley as part of their Premier League Primary Stars delivery.

Premier League Primary Stars Officer, Macauley Hobson said: ‘We’ve had an absolute blast visiting 4 Primary Schools over the course of the day with our friend and Barnsley FC mascot Toby Tyke donating books to each school’s library. It was great to hear the students reading and seeing all their fantastic costumes, we would like to thank the Premier League for making this possible. 

World Book Day promotes reading for pleasure, offering every child and young person the opportunity to have a book of their own as according to National Literacy Trust research, children who own their own books are much more likely to enjoy reading, read daily and read to relax.

National Literacy Trust research also found that one in eight children from disadvantaged backgrounds said they did not own a single book of their own at home, and the book ownership gap between them and more affluent peers is the largest seen in a decade. 

To create more opportunities for pupils to experience the joy of reading on World Book Day itself, Premier League Primary Stars and the National Literacy Trust will host a free, fun-filled live online event, hosted by a top presenter and featuring the football school author, Ben Lyttleton. 

The Great Big 2024 Footy & Booky Quiz will promote reading, engage pupils in reading activities and showcase reading role models through the medium of football.

Premier League Charitable Fund Chief Executive, Ruth Shaw OBE, said: “Since 2017, more than a quarter of a million children across England and Wales have received a free book thanks to Premier League Primary Stars and the National Literacy Trust. We know how important reading for pleasure is for developing confidence and positive mental health, and through the Premier League’s primary school education programme we want to continue to support children across the country to enjoy the many benefits that reading can bring.”

Jim Sells, Sport, and Literacy Programme Manager at the National Literacy Trust, said: “World Book Day® celebrates reading for pleasure for everyone, which is central to our vision at the National Literacy Trust. We’ve seen first-hand how choosing a book of their own can inspire a child’s love of reading, give them confidence, and support them at school, so we are delighted to be able to provide 45,000 free books directly to schools, thanks to our generous partners at World Book Day® and our-long term partners at the Premier League Charitable Fund.

“We know that some children and families may struggle to access and enjoy World Book Day due to financial and social barriers. Our goal is to engage those who need support through inclusive activities, like our free live quiz and wide-scale book donations, inspiring a life-long love of books and reading, supporting literacy skills, and empowering children and young people with the words to shape their own futures.”

Currently, 104 professional football clubs from across the leagues run in-classroom Premier League Primary Stars sessions in local partner schools. More than 68,000 teachers have signed up to access free online national curriculum-linked resources, to date.

The total Premier League investment into Premier League Primary Stars, via the Premier League Charitable Fund, is £61.9million, to date.

For more information, please visit Premier League Primary Stars