Project information

New London borough expansion

Working in deprived estates in London volunteers encourage disadvantaged children to learn to love books and reading for pleasure. Our aim is to improve literacy by inspiring children to read at home supported by their parents.

January 2019 - December 2022

Charity information: Doorstep Library Network

Doorstep Library Network logo
  • Need


    The specific problems faced by children from low-income families that we address are:
    • Language and literacy development gap between children of low-income families and other children;
    • No or limited access to supported reading from the age of 4;
    • Low ambition of parents regarding their children’s education;
    • Limited access to a variety of stimulating cultural activities;
    • Lack of service uptake by the most at-risk parents of services intended to support them and their children.


    Trained volunteers make weekly visits to families during term-time; they take books for each child, with younger children learning to read with a volunteer, and older children reading aloud; our aim is to instil a love of reading and books to improve literacy, education and life chances.
    Volunteers work with parents to engage with their children's reading, and if parents are particularly vulnerable, help signpost them to additional local services.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Instil a love of reading for pleasure to improve children's literacy, education and life chances


    » Set up 5 new Doorstep Libraries to visit children and families at home to help approx. 350 children learn to read and read for pleasure.
    » Buy books and maintain a library; recruit more volunteers to visit families and encourage participation.

    What success will look like

    Monitor the number of children participating in project; track individual beneficiary progress across the year; record number of parents engaged with children's reading.

    Aim 2

    Work with vulnerable parents to encourage involvement in home reading; signpost to local services


    » Recruitment, training and induction of volunteers; to include DBS checks, full training programme including monitoring progress of beneficiaries.
    » Coordinate with councils and local organisations to signpost vulnerable families to relevant local services; support families to access services.

    What success will look like

    Record numbers of parents engaged with children's reading; monitor improvements in engagement with children's reading; record numbers of parents offered signposting and take up.

  • Impact


    We will demonstrate the long term changes by measuring the increase in the number of children and families we support and their improvement in reading and love of books.

    Success will be setting up 5 new projects in a new borough, to benefit 350 children from 150 families, of whom 25% will be the most vulnerable and for whom we will signpost other social and local services. We will also increase our volunteer base by an additional 70 volunteers.


    Our risks include an inability to recruit enough volunteers; we mitigate this by having an ongoing recruitment programme throughout the year; we also have a bank of stand-in volunteers we can call upon.

    Funding is another risk for us; we have expanded cautiously since we were established. We hold a minimum of 3 months reserves and have a proactive fundraising programme for sustained and diversified income.


    We will provide donors a written report which will include quant and qual data; we gather data week by week which is developed into a term by term review. This will be compiled into an annual report for donors who will be able to visit our projects and attend events when we will update news.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £53,250

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      Amount Heading Description
      £5,000 Books purchase of books
      £29,750 Salaries project coordinator
      £8,500 Volunteers volunteer recruitment, induction, training and ongoing management
      £10,000 administration rent, utilities, IT and other support costs
  • Background


    Our current projects are located in Hammersmith & Fulham, Westminster and Lambeth. We work in partnership with local councils targeting council estates with the highest levels of poverty and deprivation (from the Indices of Deprivation), with large numbers of families with young children.

    We are looking at starting a new set of projects in Southwark or Camden.


    At present 525 children benefit from our work. With your funding, we hope to increase this with an additional 350 children and 150 families. Beneficiaries are aged 1-11 years old and disadvantaged either through economic or social circumstances. Many of our families are identified as particularly vulnerable, being isolated in their communities; we particularly target families with young boys who are the most likely to suffer as a consequence of poor literacy.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Doorstep Library Network offers a simple but effective way to engage with vulnerable families and to encourage reading and a love of books amongst children. Our volunteers are committed and passionate about their ability to transform the lives of our beneficiaries through long-term, regular reading support.

    We started our programme eight years ago and have been able to support hundreds of children; we have benefited from regular monitoring and evaluation to continue to develop our work.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Katie Bareham


    Emily Oliver

    Programme Manager

Doorstep featured in the BBC Victoria Derbyshire Show

“I’m amazed he came out to read with you. It took me ten minutes earlier to persuade him to read his school book for only 5 minutes, he really didn’t want to do it. You come along and he’s there straight away. I don’t know what you’re doing, but it works!”

Dad of a seven year old boy