Refuge In Literacy UK began when children’s author Anne Stairmand donated signed copies of her books to a local domestic violence refuge at Christmas 2020. The response was so positive she wondered if this would be the case throughout the UK, and so she spent the following January and February speaking to over 300 refuges in the UK asking whether authors donating signed copies of their books to their local refuges would make an impact.
From the joy of receiving a personal gift, to the simple joy of reading, to the educational, emotional and self-improvement opportunities books can present – which in turn can create empowerment and self-esteem – it was clear these books would have an impact.
Children will have a sense of value, worth, self-esteem … They will harness a willingness to read, to learn, to savour the process of reading, escapism and transformative powers of a book.— Thurrock Changing Pathways Essex, 2021
Refuge In Literacy UK is also aiming to address a lack of consistency in literacy resources and training by supporting refuges with reading strategy prompts which feed into the National Curriculum. Our pilot refuges, currently nine across the UK, will help trial these, and evaluations will help us refine and improve.
The wider benefits of a signed personal copy of a book cannot be underestimated, encouraging children and parents to become literacy confident in reading, writing and comprehension.— Glasgow Women’s Aid, 2021
We are a board of ten members, seven of whom are directors, and we are all committed to supporting the joy of reading, the personal empowerment of readers and the literacy journeys of children, young people and parents in domestic violence refuges throughout the UK.
The personal benefits of having a newly, personally signed book, creates a sense of empowerment. However, the benefits transcend far beyond the token of a personal gift.— Liverpool Women’s Refuge, 2021
As we are a non-profit organisation, the board are committed to helping those in domestic violence refuges to improve literacy life chances in for those in education and in the wider world.