Thursday 18th June 2020
The Reading Force FREE initiative is available to those serving, reservist, veteran, injured – as well as the divorced/separated partners and children of Forces personnel. Reading Force deliver books and scrapbooks directly to the homes of families who request them, and have been able to give military families a constructive activity throughout lockdown. As restrictions ease, you can still use their materials to keep in touch with a deployed parent and wider family.
The initiative is available to you, whether your children are staying at home or returning to school.
Reading Force have had a really big increase in participants and lots of feedback that Forces families have found it very helpful to take part during this challenging time.
From those getting in touch to ask for materials, Reading Force have learned a lot about how the project is used, and how people benefit. In particular:
More requests from veterans
Veterans have been a group Reading Force have long been trying to reach, so they are pleased to see their efforts are having an effect.
‘It means so much to know that veterans are cared about and included in Reading Force. I can’t put into words how much my spirits were lifted last week when our first parcel arrived. We felt like we mattered to someone.’
More contact from men
Particularly those who are separated from their children, whether through deployment or relationship breakdown. Reading Force enables meaningful contact to be maintained even when getting together is impossible.
More contact from teenagers
The majority of families taking part in Reading Force are those with younger children – from babies to age 10, although older children have joined in a family activity that includes everyone, or to help encourage their siblings’ literacy. During lockdown Reading Force have seen increasing numbers of ages 11-17 getting in touch, and sharing what they are reading with their friends and siblings.
Now, as completed scrapbooks are returned for feedback, a free book and a certificate of participation, Reading Force are receiving comments about the benefits that have been experienced:
‘We love reading force. Currently working through another scrapbook with my eldest. Always thought it’s such a wonderful idea and even more so now we are all isolated!!’
‘Our pack arrived the day after daddy left for a while and we didn’t know when he would be coming back because of the coronavirus. We were all a bit grumpy until our books and scrapbooks arrived. We don’t know when we will speak to daddy next but we will read him our new books when we do.’
‘During this lockdown because of covid-19 this book brought us laughter, quality time spent together and a fun activity to do at home. We are very grateful to be part of Reading Force. Thank you!’
If you would like to see images of families’ scrapbooks you can look at Reading Force’s Instagram page, and there are also updates of family input on their Facebook page (all offered with permission).
Read more about Reading Force in the latest edition of Envoy. See pages 46 and 47
Anyone with a Forces connection can register to join their fun shared-reading scheme at readingforce.org.uk
You are also invited to a free seminar being run at Kingston University on the unpaid work done by Forces partners. Very relevant to many!