Aldi is donating more than 100,000 books to disadvantaged children across the UK.
New research commissioned by the discount retailer showed 90% of charity professionals believe that children’s reading abilities have declined since the start of the pandemic.
Professionals questioned by Aldi estimated that over a third (37%) of the children they help do not own a book. They also unanimously predicted that children’s access to books will worsen as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite.
The supermarket chain will donate the books ahead of the school summer holidays, commenting: “As with high-quality, fresh food, access to books should be a right, not a privilege”.
Books will be produced by Macmillan Children’s Books and distributed with support from the charity Magic Breakfast, which provides free nutritious breakfasts to disadvantaged children and young people.
Additional copies will also be donated via giving platform Neighbourly.
Aldi has also commissioned an animation narrated by English footballer and British Book Award Book of the Year winner, Marcus Rashford, called “My Reading Journey”, illustrated by Lisa Stickley.
It shows how much joy reading can bring to a child, as the viewer watches a young boy’s world coming alive after being gifted a book.
Marcus Rashford commented: “I didn’t read properly until I was 17, and I don’t want that for others like me. The escapism and joy you can get from reading could have benefitted me significantly as a child.
“The issue was always access and representation—two areas that the Marcus Rashford Book Club focuses on.
“Struggling to put food on the table, there was very little money left for things like books so it’s great to see Aldi step up to address a growing need for access to books in communities just like mine.
“It’s important that children can see a world much bigger than what they see on their doorstep and that can be achieved through books.”