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BookBenches Launch was a Real Page Turner for Nottingham's Children

24 July 2018
Feature CSR

Children from Sneinton, Blue Bell Hill, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, and St Teresa’s Primary Schools,  took part in an interactive story-telling session from talented local storyteller, Nicky Rafferty at official launch event for the Hoodwinked’s BookBenches.

Hoodwinked has become the latest exciting chapter in the story of Boots’ literary heritage after it partnered the Education Programme this summer to help launch and run the learning element of Robin’s Tales in Nottingham’s Schools.

The BookBenches have been a cross-Nottingham effort, where hundreds of children from Nottingham City schools have helped to design, create and paint 56 individual benches, which will be displayed in public spaces such as libraries, shopping centres and community hubs throughout the summer as part of the sculpture trail for Hoodwinked.

Boots has also worked with Hoodwinked to provide each school taking part with an education pack filled with creative ideas and rich learning resources aligned to both the National Curriculum and Arts Award, and including heritage material from the Boots archive.

Elizabeth Fagan, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Boots, comments: “We wanted to use our unique heritage to continue this important work and the legacy that Boots has in literacy to improve access to reading for all. It’s been a pleasure to see all of the schools and teachers get behind the education programme for Hoodwinked, using it as a learning opportunity for the children, and as a chance to let them get involved in creating arts and culture from within Nottingham. We’ve loved seeing the creative designs that the children have come up with for the BookBenches, and we hope that these benches will live on as a reminder of their involvement in Hoodwinked.”

Alice Veldtman CSR Manager for Boots also announced the first ever Florence Boot Poster competition and presenting prizes to the winners

Florence Boot originally set up the Boots Book Lovers Libraries, through which Boots offered a book lending service in its stores. For the Florence Boot competition, there were over 200 entries from children who had been busy designing poster to champion the importance of reading. The winning designs from children in age categories and 5 – 7, 7 – 9 and 9 – 11, will get the honour of being displayed in Nottingham’s libraries throughout the whole of the summer.

Winners of the Florence Boot competition, Elijah from Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Matheus from St Teresa’s, and Isaac from Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Schools with their winning designs, along with Alice Veldtman, CSR Manager for Boots, Cllr Trimble, and Sophie Clapp, Boots Archivist.

It’s been a real hit with the schools too, who can’t wait to see their benches on display in the community. Pete Bevington, Leader of Enhancement & Enrichment at the SHINE Multi Academy Trust which runs Scotholme and Whitemoor schools in the city, said: “The beauty of this project has been that it allows our schools to produce a piece of art which will take centre-stage in the local community. There is rarely a greater sight than seeing the pride on a child's face when their work is displayed in front of, and is valued by, a real-life audience.

“What's more, our pupils have been challenged to link their designs to famous books and authors - and so the BookBench has become a valuable tool in hooking them into a wealth of literature. We can't wait to see what the finished benches look like!”

Councillor Dave Trimble, Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Localities, said: “Children in primary schools right across the city can be very proud of the part they are playing in creating a brilliant art trail for Nottingham this summer.

"People following the trail will see the unique BookBenches in the city centre and will also have the opportunity to find more in libraries and leisure centres they might not have visited before. I’m so pleased to see that the trail is already a massive success and that so many people are having a great time finding the robins and benches.”

Hoodwinked is a free public art trail that has seen 33 robin statues, sponsored by local businesses, displayed across the city centre, and 56 BookBenches exhibited in libraries, leisure centres and both intu shopping centres from 7 July to 30 September. For more info visit www.hoodwinked2018.co.uk or the Nottingham Tourism Centre for maps and trail guides.

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*As of Aug. 31, 2020