Charity (no. 1158197)

Doorstep Library

"Instilling love of reading in children and improving potential by providing books in the home."

Who We Help, Why We Help & the Difference It Makes

How well you read has a direct bearing on how well you do in life. For various reasons, children from disadvantaged areas are less likely to have books, less likely to read with their parents and less likely to read for pleasure. Not only are they more likely to fall behind in their studies as a result, but they also fall behind in their lives. 

Amongst developed nations, it is the UK that shows the clearest link between poor literacy and unemployment. For most youngsters, there is no way back, because much of what support there is doesn’t reach its target. We leave our most vulnerable children behind.

Doorstep Library exists to help as many of these vulnerable families as we can. We believe in the power of words to take children places, not just in their imagination, but in their lives. We want to see a world where all children can thrive in homes in which books are celebrated and a love of reading is embraced.

We currently run 12 Doorstep Libraries across Hammersmith & Fulham, Westminster & Lambeth.

Our Services Are

Free Low Cost Subsidised Charged Donation Appreciated

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What We Do

We recruit and train volunteers to go into the homes of families living in London and introduce their children, from ages 0-11 to the pleasure of reading and inspire them with it.

Volunteers work in pairs, carrying a backpack full of books, and small stools to sit on. We visit each family once a week during term-time, read stories with the children and lend them books to exchange when we return the following week. We emphasise the fun element and use the power of stories to let the children generate their own interest.

We also engage with parents to show how important (and easy) it is for them to spend time reading with their children and take an active part in their education. In addition, we develop strong links with family support agencies in order to ‘signpost’ to families what is on offer in their community in terms of events and facilities.

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Get Involved - Volunteer

There are different ways you can get involved as a Home Reading Volunteer with us:

Regular Home Reading Volunteer:

As a regular reader with us, you’ll have the chance to visit the same five families each week. So the families get to know the same volunteers, we ask our regular readers to be available on a set day every week during term time only. We also ask that our volunteers make a commitment of at least 9 months so that we can slowly build up relationships with the families we visit over time.

Stand-in Home Reading Volunteer:

Our projects wouldn’t run on a weekly basis without the support of our invaluable stand in volunteers, who fill in for our regular readers when they’re away. Stand in volunteers only cover reading sessions as and when they’re available and so don’t need to make a weekly commitment. They also have the chance to work with different volunteers and meet lots of different families.

There are so many benefits to volunteering with Doorstep Library, we could write a book full of them! You can check out some of them here.

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Additional Info

At present, we visit over 500 children from 220 families each week, with more than 100 Home Reading Volunteers lending out some 15,000 books in 2016 alone.

This is still just a tiny percentage of the families that could benefit from our projects, and our aim is to keep growing in a way that helps the greatest number of children.

Connect with Doorstep Library today to find out more

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