In a bid to foster a love of reading and help increase literacy levels across Burnley and Padiham, local MP Antony Higginbotham has partnered up with James Hall & Co. Ltd. to bring Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to nursery school children within the Borough.

 The Dolly Parton Imagination Library was started by international country singer Dolly Parton in her home state of Tennessee in 1995 to provide children up to the age of five a free book in the post.

 It aims to encourage parents to read with their children on a regular basis, posting over one million specially selected, age-appropriate books each month in America, Canada and now the UK.

 As a starting figure, 75 children from five nurseries in Burnley and Padiham will each receive a monthly book in the post completely free of charge, with the costs being covered by contributions from the MP and local businesses.

 Antony Higginbotham MP who has setup the Imagination Library in Burnley and Padiham has received initial support off James Hall & Co. Ltd., a fifth-generation family company which services 600 SPAR stores across the north of England.

 Mr Higginbotham MP said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to get this amazing initiative up and running in our Borough. And I’m really thankful to James Hall & Co. Ltd. for their initial sponsorship.

 “It’s so important that children within Burnley and Padiham are given the best start in life and part of that is about fostering a love of reading from a young age. That’s what has motivated me to bring the Imagination Library to our area.

 “We’re currently able to provide these books to 75 families, split across 5 nurseries but the task of raising more money to expand the project to yet more children will continue.”

   Thomas Murphy, Marketing Manager at James Hall & Co. Ltd., said: “SPAR has multiple stores in Burnley and Padiham and we are thrilled to be able to give back to our customers and help introduce this fantastic initiative to the local community.

 “Many families are struggling right now and may not be able to afford books for their children to read. We really hope that having a book delivered straight to the family home each month will be something to look forward to, encourage precious reading time together and help develop key skills that are instrumental to a child’s development and self-confidence.”

 Jackie Clarey, who teaches at Rosegrove Nursery School, one of the first nurseries to benefit from the scheme said: “We are very excited about joining the Imagination Library Initiative. This funding has provided a great opportunity for several of our children to experience sharing quality books in their homes. The stories can also be enjoyed by other people in their family, it’s important for children to see their parents enjoying reading.

 “We know that Imagination Library will support many areas of language development including speaking, listening and concentration.”