Today on the blog, one of our favourite charity partners, Give a Book, tells us all about their brilliant project, Books in the Nick, and how it helps detainees grow a love of reading. Welcome, guys!
Give a Book is a charity with the sole aim of giving books where they will be of particular benefit. Our core belief is that to pass on a good read “to give someone a book” is a transaction of worth. We provide practical solutions to help disadvantaged people in local areas by working with schools, the local community and partnering with other organisations to provide books to encourage an enjoyment of reading.
Our books go directly to schools and a range of charities and organisations. One of our latest projects is Books in the Nick, which was started by Special Constable Steve Whitmore of the Metropolitan Police in collaboration with Give a Book. Books in the Nick supplies custody suites with books for detainees to read and keep.
Custody suites are the first place someone is taken for processing when they are arrested. They can be held there for as little as two hours, but sometimes it can be a whole weekend – if they come in on a Friday night for example.
The books are selected to be appropriate and reflective of the needs of the detainees in custody suites. The selection includes Quick Reads, short stories and poetry. We also work with the fabulous Barrington Stoke to select books that may be more attractive to reluctant readers and also are ideal for emergent readers. With their help, we have chosen a great selection from the huge variety of suitable titles they offer.
Being given the opportunity to read and often keep a book has a positive effect on the detainees. Their relationship with dedicated detention officers (DDOs) and police officers has been shown to improve. Detainees are often distressed and are experiencing perhaps one of the hardest moments in their lives, so giving a book can be a way to instil calm and offer hope.
Some feedback from the custody suites involved:
“Books in a custody suite are very helpful. Detainees are in the cells for sometimes days on end with very little to do. Books help to break that.”
“…helps them stay calm.”
“Books are always in short supply. I know detainees will be pleased.”
In 2016, the project supplied books to all 43 active Metropolitan custody suites in the London area. Give a Book continue to restock London custody suites with books as needed, and have started supplying suites in other parts of the country with books.
If you are interested in supporting this scheme please do get in touch, via firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you again to the lovely people of Give a Book. It was lovely to have you on the blog!