£3.6m protects Bookstart programme in Wales

2 Feb 2011 11:33 AM
Children remain a top priority for the Welsh Assembly Government, Deputy Minister for Children Huw Lewis said yesterday as he confirmed that funding for four Basic Skills programmes would continue until 2012.

The four programmes – Bookstart, Language and Play, Family Support Programmes and Letterbox – receive a total of £3.6m.  

Announcing the funding Huw Lewis said:

"Despite the tough funding settlement we have received from the UK Government, the Welsh Assembly Government has continued to make children a priority.  

"By protecting the funding for programmes such as Bookstart we are showing our commitment to improving the basic literacy and numeracy skills of babies, children and their families.  

"The Bookstart programme has proved to be a huge success in getting babies and children engaged with books and reading from an early stage in life.   This is why we are continuing to fund Bookstart.  Through this programme we are making sure that all babies and children, regardless of their family situation have access to books from birth.  

"The Letterbox Club continues these positive messages to some of the more vulnerable children in Wales.  By providing looked after children aged 7-13 with a pack of books, mathematics activities and education materials every month for six months they are helping to improve their educational prospects.  

"But it is also vital that we engage mothers, fathers and carers so they can support their children.  The Family Support Programmes are helping to build the confidence of parents which in turn can make them feel more able and willing to help their children with homework.

"Literacy and numeracy underpin nearly all the other skills we need in our daily lives – at work, in the family or in leisure and other activities.  By continuing the funding for these programmes we are making sure that all children and their families have access to literacy and numeracy material to give them the best possible start to their education."

The programmes form part of the Welsh Assembly Government’s four year National Literacy Plan which is currently being developed. The Strategy sets out how literacy standards are to be raised in Wales in the future.

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