Lawyers from Plymouth-based international law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) have swapped the office for the classroom to help get more of the city's children into reading.
As part of the firm's responsible business strategy, WBD's Plymouth office is supporting charity partner The Plymouth Drake Foundation's Promoting Children in Plymouth's (PCiP) Story Telling and Book Gifting project with the donation of a book vending machine, which is now housed at St Peter's CE Primary School in Stonehouse.
Lawyers from the firm, including CSR Partner, Nikki Jonas, helped unveil the vending machine and took part in an afternoon of storytelling with children from the school. The donation follows the office's pledge to provide books to 27 schools in Plymouth last year.
Marc Wheeler, headmaster at St Peter's Primary School, said:
"Many pupils at St Peter's experience reading poverty. They do not have the rich experience of seeing parents read, having books easily accessible to them at home and being read to regularly by adults. As a consequence of this, they can lack enthusiasm and motivation for reading.
WBD's donation of a book vending machine has created a real buzz around reading. Pupils are excited to receive their golden token and we have already seen a shift in reading behaviours of some pupils who are working hard to try to be the next person chosen for the award. We are extremely grateful to WBD for providing us with this facility and helping further raise the profile of reading at our school."
Kerry Bidewell, Development Manager at Plymouth Children in Poverty, commented:
"This project showcases the impact of collaborative working - when educators, charity and the business community work together the impact is far greater. Being able to create excitement around reading and celebrate a child's efforts with a golden token and the gift of a book, will without doubt support improved reading standards. With the additional 1:1 reading support and the virtual storytelling and book gifting offered by the team at Womble Bond Dickinson, together we really are letting hundreds of children know that reading is a Super Power!"
Nikki Jonas, CSR Partner for WBD's Plymouth office, added:
"WBD Plymouth is delighted to continue our support for Plymouth Children in Poverty's Story Telling and Book Gifting project. It was pleasure to help unveil the vending machine and read to the children at St Peter's.
It's amazing to see that the vending machine has created so much excitement amongst pupils and we hope it will help to encourage the children that reading is not just something they need to do at school but rather is an important skill which unlocks so many doors for the future."