Homeless youngsters win Bookbinders contest

Project manager Prem Konieczny (far left) and reading group leader Zena Cooper (holding pizza) plus youngsters from Old Johnson House, Sittingbourne.

BookbindersNewsletter sign-up

A group of homeless youngsters were on the same page for a reading competition where they clinched first place and pizza party prize.

The winning team were from Old Johnson House supported accommodation for young homeless people in Sittingbourne. Their dedication to hitting the books was rewarded with a pizza night to enjoy during a group reading session.

The contest was organised by the Bookbinders scheme which provides resources for organisations to help adults and adolescents build literacy skills and improve their prospects for the future.

Prem Konieczny, project manager at the centre, said Bookbinders has been successful with participants. “At first they didn’t think reading was cool but now they really enjoy it and see it as a really fun thing to do,” he said.

Zena Cooper, who leads the reading group, said it was: “an opportunity to read purely for enjoyment rather than for academic purposes. It gives them a chance to use their imaginations and feel like they have a voice. At group sessions they can say what they feel without having to worry if it’s right or wrong.”

Michael James, co-ordinator of Bookbinders, said: “It gives us great pleasure to reward these young people who have put a lot of time and effort into their reading sessions.”

Bookbinders is backed by Amity Fund and adopts a book group format suitable for homeless charities, organisations supporting young people not in education or training (NEETs), as well as parent groups linked to schools and community centres.

The scheme encourages groups to find reading materials that appeal to their readers from news stories and graphic novels to screen plays of a hit film.

Organisations supporting individuals with literacy can find out more at bookbinders.org.uk.

About the Author