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Story of success

This has been another successful year for the Swindon Stories campaign. Led by the National Literacy Trust, we work in partnership with Swindon Borough Council and WHSmith to build a new generation of readers in Swindon and break the intergenerational cycle of low literacy impacting on local children’s life chances.

Over the last year, we have given away over 700 books for families in Swindon to share together. We’ve delivered a selection of initiatives and bespoke programmes including our Penhill Lost Words Trail for local families, our Roundabout Reading scheme to promote adult reading, and our festive Small Talk book giveaway with Swindon’s Bus Company where we gave out over 200 books, all to improve the literacy levels of families across the city.

A quarter of the wards in Swindon are in the top 20% of literacy need in the country. As well as this, the latest National Literacy Trust research has found that as many as 33,204 children in the South West don’t have a single book of their own. It is so important that children have stories of their own to enjoy - according to a National Literacy Trust survey of more than 56,000 children, those who own books are six times more likely to read above the level expected for their age and almost three times more likely to enjoy it too.

Next year Swindon Stories will be expanding its approach with exciting new activity, including a Roald Dahl book giveaway and competition which will be aimed at families and primary schools. We are also training childminders to become Literacy Champions, supporting them to make a difference in their community by running their own literacy-focused events and activities.

We’ve received significant support from The Swindon Advertiser this year to whom we are exceptionally grateful. But if your new year’s resolution is to make a difference in your local area, we’d love to have more organisations and individuals on board to raise funds and change the literacy landscape for local children and young people.

If you think you might be interested in supporting the Swindon Stories campaign in a wider context, please do not hesitate to get in touch to see what we could do together.

You can visit , or my email address is

Finally, I’d like to wish all of your readers a very happy festive season!

Anish Harrison, Swindon Stories Manager

I told you so

I don’t really like to chest thump and brag, but months ago I and others in the area said what will happen in a general election. All of those mainly Labour MPs who ignored their constituents who voted to leave the EU, but completely went against their platforms of elect “me and we will get Brexit done” only to again ignore them and drag us all through three years of Hell and confusion. Well the proverbial mouse has turned please make your way to the Job Centre take a number, wait your turn and see what jobs, re-training you can do after the election. What a majority. All I could hear was ousted MPs crying out “we are doomed doomed” Well I and millions of others don’t believe you. Why? Because you stabbed the working class in the back once. You will only do that once. We are the great British Bulldog. As Boris said “Let’s get it done.” I see once the exit poll was announced the pound shot up against the dollar. What we all need to do now is get behind the government and make it work.

Happy Days are here again. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

John L Crook, Haydon Wick

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