|Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Comes to Wigan
Dolly Parton reads The Tales of Peter Rabbit.
The wonders of reading are about to be revealed to children in Bryn and Ince thanks to an exciting new partnership between Wigan Council and the first lady of country music.
On Friday March 26, the two areas will become the latest venues for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – a scheme which provides free books to the under-fives.
And some of the most popular and enduring character in children’s fiction will be popping along to help give the project a boost on its first day.
Ms Parton’s now globally famous book gifting scheme makes reading more accessible for pre-school children.
The project is funded by local sponsors who pay for children in their community to receive the books. Once parents have signed their children up to the scheme at the local Sure Start Centre, the little ones receive a book a month until they turn five.
The first book every child gets is the evergreen Tales of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.
On launch day, Peter and friend Mrs Tiggywinkle and Tom Kitten will be at the Sure Start Centres in Ince and at the Boys’ Brigade HQ in Bryn – large as life and twice a furry!
There will also be interactive puppet shows at both locations with Peter and the gang, which children attending on the day will be encouraged to join in with.
Wigan Council’s Cabinet Champion for Children and Young People, Cllr Susan Loudon, says: “We are delighted to be working with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. This project will help children to develop their literacy skills, encourage parents to read and introduce a love of reading. I would urge parents to get along to the Sure Start Centre and sign up to this fantastic scheme.”
Makerfield MP Ian McCartney has been instrumental in bringing Dolly’s Imagination Library to Wigan.
He says: “"I am delighted that following my idea, some two years ago, that a pilot is now off the ground. I hope that this can become a blueprint for the borough and I have extended an invitation to Dolly Parton to visit Wigan whenever she would like to."
Dolly Parton first launched the scheme in her home county of Sevier, Tennessee in 1996 with the aim of fostering a love of reading amongst children. The programme was launched in the UK in 2007 in Rotherham.
Dolly says she is delighted Wigan is now on board: “It’s great to celebrate as another bunch of kids start to receive their first books. It’s my dream that every child has a library of books which their parents can read to them from the day they are born. It’s a big dream, but I’ve always been a mighty big dreamer.”
Parents who would like further details on the scheme can contact Nicola Cunningham on 01942 245218 (Ince Children’s Centre) or Jenny Puzzar on 01942 776382.