Builder Book launches innovative Planet Pack to boost children’s literacy

Builder Book, an initiative by Split Perspectivz CIC, has announced the launch of its latest sustainable Planet Pack campaign, aimed at inspiring and rekindling a love for reading and learning among children across Merseyside and Flintshire. 

For this year’s campaign, Builder Book has partnered with PuzzleDuck to create an immersive new smartphone app that will take children and families on an adventure around Liverpool’s waterfront and Knowledge Quarter to find clues that will educate them about various sustainable themes, including fashion and construction, with a particular focus on food poverty and the benefits of homegrown food.

Combining the app with Builder Book’s creative learning pack, young people will develop reading, writing, speaking and listening skills, while exploring their surroundings and applying their new knowledge to the world in which they live.

As a joint venture, authors Natalie Reeves Billing and Jude Lennon, have designed, created, and delivered over 25,000 Builder Book packs across the Liverpool City Region since it began in 2020.  

Each year it focuses on a different theme including creativity, mental health, Eurovision and now sustainability. 

This year’s Builder Book Planet Pack was launched on Thursday, May 23, 2024, during an event at The Printroom UK in Bootle. Builder Book partners and dignitaries attended and watched the printing of the carbon-neutral literacy packs before being distributed to 10,000 young people across Merseyside and Flintshire.

Natalie Reeves Billing, co-founder of Builder Book, emphasised the importance of changing the narrative around reading for young people, saying, “Young people are missing out on the joy and value of reading and learning, and we must change that narrative. 

“By providing an innovative opportunity for young people to learn and feel involved in something, all while getting them to read more, we will see an uplift in mental wellbeing as well as supporting the educational needs of disadvantaged young people.

“With the recent cost of living crisis, families have looked at alternatives when it comes to feeding the family, and this year’s Builder Book has focused especially on this to support understanding around food poverty and different options to support this.”

Recent statistics from the National Literacy Trust have highlighted the urgency of this initiative. 

Despite the UK achieving its highest-ever literacy rating, ranking 4th internationally in 2023, a concerning 56% of children and young people aged 8-18 do not find pleasure in reading.

This is heightened locally, where the attainment is lower within the Liverpool City Region than the English average across all Key Stages.

Nick Small, founder and director of Social Impact Consulting, explained the impact a project such as Builder Book can have, saying, “Builder Book’s Planet Pack is a project that will deliver a positive social impact. 

“We project that for every £1 invested in Planet Pack, £11.97 of wider social value will be delivered to communities across the wider Liverpool City Region.”

Builder Book is supported by 30 partners, including headline sponsor, The Printroom UK, Adore Group, Everton in the Community, LJMU, Exceptional Care Ltd, HD Creative and Moore Media, who have generously donated financial contributions, practical assistance, and in-kind time. Also in attendance was Lord-Lieutenant, Mr Mark Blundell; Liverpool Lord Mayor, Cllr Richard Kemp; the Mayor of Sefton, Cllr June Burns; and Builder Book ambassador, Simon O’Brien, from Channel 4’s Find it, Fix it, Flog it.

BAFTA Award winning TV presenter and actor Simon O’Brien, who is also the walking and cycling commissioner for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said at the launch, “Builder Book’s latest initiative to educate young people about sustainability, focusing on food and self-sufficiency, is incredibly timely. Today’s youth are increasingly aware of the challenges we face and are always looking for new alternatives. I am proud to support Builder Book and champion this important cause. ”

Planet Packs will be rolled out across schools and community centres in the Liverpool City Region and Deeside, with provisions for a Welsh language option to offer wider access to the project.

To learn more about Builder Book and how to get involved, visit www.builder-book.com.

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