The Letterbox Club

Getting a parcel through the post is exciting for anyone, and The Letterbox Club uses this excitement to encourage looked after children to enjoy playing games and reading at home. This is to enable children to make as much progress as possible in literacy and numeracy in Key stages 2 (ages 7 to 11) and to support foster carers and family members who would like to help children do well.

In 2007,  22 local authorities took part in The Letterbox Club. In 2008, 30 additional authorities joined the Letterbox Club. Each child who joins the letterbox club gets a parcel once a month for six months. The parcel is addressed to the child at their foster home or other residence and typically includes a letter (personalised with the child’s name), two reading books, stationary items such as pencils, an exercise book, bookmarks or stickers, and a maths game at the childs own level of attainment.    From 2009 the Letterbox Club will be open to every local authority in the united kingdom on a subscription basis for each child involved.

Tonight was the 2009 launch for the letterbox Club on the 10th floor of The Penguin Offices on The Strand in London.  The letterbox club is managed by Booktrust  and heavily supported by Penguin amongst other publishers. I am one of three patrons of the Letterbox Club and tonight I am scheduled to read poems for the gathering of localauthority representatives, letterbox club supporters,  press, writers and publishers.

But reading my own work from my own brand new book seems strange here,  sort of self promotional and slightly wrong.    So I read “God Bless The Child” written by Arthur Herzog Jr in 1939 and signature tune of Billie Holliday.   The view from 10th Floor of the offices is one of the best of London that I have seen.  It’s later while cycling through London at night the song echoes in my head 

“mamma may have, Papa may have but god bless the child that’s got his own, that’s got his own”

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