Craigroyston Primary project is Charity Times Award finalist
A literacy programme at Craigroyston Primary School is in the running for a national award. The pioneering programme jointly ran by Scottish Book Trust and Scottish Gas has been announced as a finalist at the Charity Times Awards.
Scottish Book Trust and Scottish Gas partnered on the project to support primary school pupils in the school in Muirhouse. The programme set out to develop pupils’ confidence and skills in reading and writing, through a storytelling residency in 2016. It has now been shortlisted in the ‘Corporate Community Local Involvement’, alongside six other charities, at the Charity Times Awards.
The Charity Times Awards celebrate best practice in the UK charity and not-for-profit sector. Now in their 18th year, the Awards are run by Charity Times magazine. This year’s winners will be announced at the Charity Times Awards Gala Dinner & Ceremony on 4 October 2017 at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London.
In 2015, Scottish Gas approached Scottish Book Trust for expertise in developing a literacy project at Craigroyston Primary School. Located in one of the most socially and economically deprived areas of Edinburgh, literacy levels are low, with many young people moving on to secondary school unable to read fluently. The teaching staff wanted a project that would raise their younger pupils’ interest in reading picture books, boost their vocabulary and their willingness to speak in class.
Craigroyston Primary School decided Primary 2 would take part and chose Mara Menzies, an Edinburgh storyteller specialising in traditional Kenyan stories. Mara used the power of stories to improve the listening, creativity, storytelling and confidence of the children.
Helen Cameron, Class Teacher and Literacy Coordinator at Craigroyston Primary, said: “Pupils have responded with enthusiasm to the sessions, coming away from them bursting with new ideas and new words and a shared experience to talk about. Parents have been able to come along, interact with their children and the storyteller, and share their thoughts and ideas.”
Scottish Gas is a major employer in North Edinburgh, and wanted to support the local community in which it operates by improving the employability and life chances of the children there. In addition to funding the project, Scottish Gas staff volunteered to read to the children on a one-to-one basis each week to foster a reading culture.
William Herd, Recruitment Manager and staff volunteer at Scottish Gas, said: “I have volunteered with Craigroyston Primary for the past three years. During the project with Scottish Book Trust I was amazed by the passion and creativity it generated among the children following sessions with Mara.”
Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “This project in Edinburgh has been a success for the school, the community and Scottish Gas and we are delighted that it has been shortlisted for this award. It’s wonderful to see a big local employer support people in a community which faces challenges and the outcomes for those taking part have been very positive on both sides.”