Essex Year of Reading seeks to inspire reading across the ages


The Essex Year of Reading campaign is looking for fresh ideas from children and young people that will help to inspire a love of reading across the ages.

Essex schoolchildren are being encouraged to put forward their inspiring ideas to connect young and older people, including those living with dementia, through reading, as part of the Essex Year of Reading campaign.

In a Dragon’s Den style competition, new ideas for promoting a love of reading across different generations can be submitted to a panel of judges on behalf of children and young people by their school or early years settings.

These might include how, through schools and early years settings, they could link in with a local care home, older person’s day care centre, relevant community group or memory café. They could also include connecting people in different ways, such as in-person, via the post or virtually.

As well as helping children whose education has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, reading can have significant benefits for people living with dementia. It can help people to re-ignite memories, improve cognitive stimulation and reduce feelings of loneliness.

Judges from Essex County Council’s dementia team will choose the winning ideas which will each receive up to £50 of funding to enable the projects to get off the ground.

Councillor Tony Ball, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education Excellence, Lifelong Learning and Employability: “We are looking for fun ideas to bring different generations together through reading. Children often need someone to listen to them read to help improve their reading skills. We know that loneliness can also affect some older people who may not know how or where to connect with others, particularly those from different generations.”

He continued: “Connecting younger and older people in this way will be very inspiring and we are hoping it will encourage a lifelong love of reading, while bringing some much-needed social interaction, especially to people living with dementia. This project is yet another novel approach to help both younger and older people across Essex thrive through reading.”

Ideas must be submitted on behalf of children by their school or early years setting. Written proposals must be no more than two A4 pages and could include pictures or a storyboard to show ideas in more detail.

Entries must be sent to​ before the deadline of 5pm on 27 May 2022. Schools and early years settings will be notified if their pupils’ ideas have been selected.

All schools and early years setting will receive a certificate for taking part. A selection of entries will also be published on the Essex Year of Reading app.

The Essex Year of Reading has been set-up to help children and young people whose education has been affected by the pandemic, and to ensure that every Essex child leaves school able to read at their age level or above.

To get involved, download the app for free from the App store or Google Play, or visit

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