Chiswick Book Festival Announces Charity Shake Up

Read For Good to be new beneficiary of this year's event after review

Picture: Read For Good

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The Chiswick Book Festival has added more charities that support reading to the roster of the organisations to which it distributes its surplus.

Read for Good becomes one of the three charities it will help fund this year, after a six-month review that generated a dozen suggestions from local people. One will benefit from this year’s Festival in September and two more are scheduled for support from next year.

Since 2009, the Festival has raised more than £109,000 for reading and community charities, including St Michael & All Angels Church which runs the Festival. It donates all profit after costs to its charity partners and actively promotes their activities and need for volunteers throughout the year. Each year, it supports three nominated charities alongside the church.

Two of its current charities will benefit for the last time in 2022 - Doorstep Library, which runs home reading projects for disadvantaged children in Hammersmith and Fulham, and InterAct Stroke Support, which employs actors to read to stroke patients in West London hospitals.

This year’s new charity will be Read for Good, which helps children to read for pleasure through programmes in schools and hospitals. It will use funds raised through the Chiswick Book Festival to provide books and storyteller visits for seriously ill children in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, and it will promote the partnership through its links with many local schools. It replaces The Felix Project, which redistributes surplus food to charities and schools.

Next year, alongside Read for Good, the Festival intends to support Koestler Arts, the leading prison arts charity, which is based in W12 and promotes writing, reading and literacy in the criminal justice system, and Read Easy Ealing, a new charity set up in 2021, which provides one-to-one reading tuition for local adults who want to learn to read or improve their reading skills. The national Read Easy charity came to prominence through a BBC documentary about Jay Blades, presenter of The Repair Shop, who learned to read at the age of 51.

Torin Douglas, director of the Chiswick Book Festival, said, “We are very grateful to those who suggested charities that would benefit from a partnership with the Festival. The three we have chosen each have good local links and a clear focus on promoting reading among a group for whom it will improve health, enjoyment and employment.

“Read for Good is a well-established charity that has been selected for the BBC Radio 4 Appeal and BBC Children in Need and submitted an excellent proposal on how it could work locally with the Chiswick Book Festival.

“Koestler Arts is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and will enable us to support literacy in prisons for the first time, through its awards for poetry and other creative writing. It already has a partnership with The Arts Society Chiswick.

“By contrast, Read Easy Ealing is very young - by scheduling it for 2023 we are giving its team more time to establish its work in the community. All our charities are assessed by the St Michael & All Angels charity team and the intention is to support each one for at least three years.”

This year’s Festival will run from September 7 to 14. Speakers announced so far include Dame Eileen Atkins on Thursday 8 September and Chris Patten, former governor of Hong Kong, and Ronnie Archer-Morgan of the Antiques Roadshow, both on Friday 9 September.

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June 26, 2022

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