Reading Force, the read, share, talk and stay connected initiative for Forces families, is to receive an increase in funding from Annington with a grant of £50,000 over the next two years, enabling more of the UK’s Forces children and parents to participate…

The tri-service charity keeps Forces family members connected by encouraging and supporting them to share books and chat about them, together at home or over Skype and Facetime if separated by a deployment.

Reading Force posts books to children and gives colourful scrapbooks in which families may collate their thoughts about the book they have shared, in notes, letters, drawings and photographs. Sharing a book and chatting about it creates good communication, keeps families close during separations and provides continuity, and is a fun family activity.

Annington’s increased funding will help cover the charity’s core costs including providing the free books and scrapbooks for children; working with organisations, pre-schools, schools, HIVEs, welfare, and community clubs to distribute Reading Force materials. It will also help with raising awareness to increase participation, collaborations and developing partnerships, events and welfare visits.

The award builds on previous and existing support from Annington Ltd, as Dr Alison Baverstock, Founder and Director of Reading Force explains: “This core funding builds on the relationship we established with Annington in 2016 which enabled us to recruit a Reading Force Ambassador in Scotland and build on the links she has since developed to extend participation.”

Helen Liddell, Chair of Annington, commented: “The impact the simple act of sharing a book can have is quite remarkable. Many Service children find it difficult to deal with a parents’ absence but sharing a story has proved to be a hugely effective way of keeping families connected and talking. We hope our increased funding will allow the charity to continue their fantastic work supporting Service families across the UK and beyond.”