Project information

Home Reading Support for disadvantaged children

Working in deprived council estates in London, Doorstep Library volunteers encourage disadvantaged primary school aged 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 2017 - December 2018

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


    » Recruit and train volunteers to visit children and families at home to help children learn to read and read for pleasure.
    » Buy books and maintain a library; recruit more families to participate; to establish holiday activities to encourage consistent reading.

    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.

    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 increasing the number of children supported by 80 next year; and working with 35 sets of parents, 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 15 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: £39,920

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      Amount Heading Description
      £2,500 Books purchase of books
      £26,000 Salaries project coordinator and sessional workers
      £8,500 Volunteers volunteer recruitment, induction, training and ongoing management
      £2,920 administration rent, utilities, IT and other support costs

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    LBHF £9,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Our projects are located in the tri-borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea. 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.


    Last year, 380 children benefited from our work. With your funding, we hope to increase this to 460 children and 160 families (from 125). Beneficiaries are primary school aged 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 longterm, regular reading support.

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

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Katie Bareham


    Emily Oliver

    Senior Project Coordinator

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