In a remarkable turn of events, The Reading Agency is delighted to announce that it has been gifted three years of funding for its adult literacy scheme, Quick Reads. The funding was donated by best-selling author, Jojo Moyes (Me Before You), just days after the charity announced that 2018 would be Quick Reads’ final year due to a lack of financial support.
The funding from Jojo will enable The Reading Agency to continue to commission the books, which play a vital part in its life-changing work with less confident adult readers. The Quick Reads initiative works with well-known authors to distribute short and engaging stories across libraries, prisons, colleges, hospitals and adult-learning organisations.
Quick Reads have proved extremely popular with union learning reps and learning centres – with many setting up workplace reading groups. While the deadline has passed for The Reading Agency to deliver a new list of books in 2019, the charity is beginning work immediately to re-launch in 2020.
Jojo Moyes contributed to the Quick Reads scheme with the short-story Paris for One in 2015. About her decision to save the much-loved scheme from collapse.
Jojo said: Like so many, I was shocked that a scheme helping many people to read was going to close, especially at a time when libraries struggle for funding. As an author who has not just written a Quick Read, but seen up close the real impact these books can have, I decided it was too important to be allowed to end. I am lucky enough to be in a position to help, and proud to provide the support it needs for the next three years.
Quick Reads opens up the benefits of reading to people that have either never found, or have lost, a love of books. It’s never been more important. I’m looking forward to playing an active role in its future and working with The Reading Agency to reach the audiences that can most benefit."
Quick Reads are designed to break down the barriers to reading, at a time when one in six adults in the UK struggles with reading and one in three does not read for pleasure. The scheme’s transformative impact cannot be understated - 95% of literacy practitioners report that Quick Reads has boosted learners’ reading confidence and 91% say the books have directly improved literacy skills.
Sue Wilkinson, Chief Executive of The Reading Agency, said:
It was with a heavy heart that we announced the end of Quick Reads last month, after seeking ongoing support for the initiative for eighteen months. We couldn’t be more thankful to Jojo for recognising the importance of the scheme and so generously providing the funding to enable it to continue.
The moving testimonies from the public, authors and all of our partners last month demonstrated how much they value these wonderful books and how Quick Reads have touched so many people’s lives. As a charity, we are continually working to secure enough funding to keep our high quality programmes running and support the 1.4 million people who rely on our work each year, so this is an extraordinary gift.”
The news of Quick Reads’ closure was met with an outpouring of support from the public and the publishing world. Baroness Gail Rebuck DBE, who founded Quick Reads in 2006, said:
It was with huge sadness that we announced the end of Quick Reads once sponsorship was withdrawn. Jojo Moyes’ astonishingly generous gift to The Reading Agency to fund a further 3 years is the most welcome news. Her vision and commitment to bring the joy of reading to all will be celebrated by the whole publishing industry. Thank you Jojo!”
Unionlearn Director Kevin Rowan congratulated Quick Reads and said:
This is fantastic news, and I am delighted that unionlearn will be able to continue to make use of Quick Reads. Quick Reads have proved to be an extremely popular resource with union learning reps in workplaces across the country offering workers an accessible way to improve their reading skills and all of the benefits and opportunities that brings."
We are looking forward to continuing unionlearn’s work with The Reading Agency and promoting new Quick Reads titles in the future."