Orbital launches competition to find swindon’s young reading hero

Nominations are now open for Orbital’s Reading Heroes competition which celebrates children from Swindon who have gone above and beyond to help or inspire others through reading. 

The competition asks parents, guardians, teachers, families and friends to nominate a local child under the age of 12 who has inspired others through books.   

Orbital launched the competition as part of the Young Readers Programme – an initiative delivered by the National Literacy Trust in partnership with Orbital and its co-owner, British Land. To date, the programme has helped encourage more than 230 local children to read for fun in their spare time.  

The Reading Heroes competition will be judged by a panel made up of representatives from Orbital and the National Literacy Trust, with the winner receiving £150 of National Book Tokens; £50 for the child to spend themselves and £100 for their school library. 

A runner up will receive a copy of David Walliams’ best-selling children’s novel, ‘The Midnight Gang’. 

Nominations can be made via Orbital’s website before the 25th of June where adults can submit a short entry describing why their nominee deserves to win. 

The Young Readers Programme recently saw children from Hazelwood Academy and Oliver Tomkins Church of England Infant School take part in a range of fun literacy-themed workshops culminating in a visit to Orbital where they enjoyed a group storytelling session as well as educational activities with staff from Homebase and Asda. Each school was also given £100 of vouchers from British Land to purchase new books to help grow their libraries. 

The latest research from the National Literacy Trust shows that children who read daily outside the classroom are five times more likely to read above the expected level for their age.1 Last year, 27% of children in Swindon were unable to read well by the time they left primary school, rising to 42% of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.2  

 Jamie Turner, centre manager at Orbital, said: “We had a fantastic time welcoming the local schoolchildren and helping them to get excited about reading.    

“The Young Readers Programme is something we’re really proud to be part of as it has a direct impact on the lives of young children in our community. We’re particularly pleased to be launching our Reading Heroes competition this year. We can’t wait to hear about all the wonderful, inspiring young readers in Swindon.”    

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, said: “Poor literacy can have a life-long impact on employability, health, confidence and happiness, so encouraging children to develop a love of reading at an early age is an essential part of our goal to help improve literacy levels in Swindon.  

“We’re extremely grateful to British Land, Orbital and its retailers for their continued support of the programme, and we’re looking forward to reading all the exciting nominations for Swindon young Reading Hero this year.”  

 To nominate a local child as Swindon’s young ‘Reading Hero’, visit: https://www.orbitalshopping.co.uk/content/were-looking-young-reading-hero-swindon