Burberry teams up with Marcus Rashford to deliver literacy project for pupils

Luxury fashion house Burberry is to partner up with Marcus Rashford to help organisations committed to helping disadvantaged children develop their literacy skills.

The England football star and youth advocate said too many children can't access books because of financial pressures.

Burberry, which has made its most iconic products in Castleford and Keighley in Yorkshire for over 100 years, said it will provide funding to transform school libraries and donate books, ensuring children have access to safe environments and resources to develop their potential.

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Mr Rashford said: "We’ve identified a real need here. Far too many children do not currently have access to books, typically because of financial restraints, and there was a need to inspire them and allow them to see beyond the challenges they face daily.

All 10 schools will take part in the Marcus Rashford Book Club

"These children need the escapism of reading more than most and access to books should not be restricted by the area you grow up in. Coming out of the pandemic, there was a huge need for safe spaces – a space where children could come and just breathe; process their feelings."

He said the initiative will build on the work of the Marcus Rashford Book Club.

"I hope children will feel the benefit of these spaces for years to come," he added.

"This has been a really rewarding process and I’m thankful to Burberry for continuing to stand with me on this journey to better underserved communities and offer real

opportunity. It’s never a no, it’s only a how, and that makes this relationship so valuable."

Burberry will support the National Literacy Trust (NLT) to help libraries in primary schools provide young people with the literacy skills to fulfil their ambitions.

Research published by the NLT last month found that one in four schools in England’s most disadvantaged communities do not have a library or designated reading space, compared with a national average of one in eight schools.

Burberry’s funding will go towards a transformation of library spaces in 10 schools most in need across Yorkshire, Manchester and London, positively impacting the lives of over 3,500 children.

All 10 schools will take part in the Marcus Rashford Book Club, a programme created by Marcus Rashford and Macmillan Children’s Books to encourage and nurture a love of reading in children. The schools will also receive a donation of 8,000 books, enabling children to benefit from further teaching materials, a variety of literature and activities.

Curated by the National Literacy Trust and provided by Macmillan Children’s Books and other publishers, the selection of illustrated, award-winning fiction and non-fiction books will be diverse, representing a range of experiences, backgrounds and interests. Dedicated training and access to National Literacy Trust resources will also be provided to 200 teachers across the country.

Pam Batty, VP of corporate responsibility at Burberry, said: "Providing safe spaces for the next generation to stretch their imaginations and craft their own stories, drawing inspiration from a diverse range of literature, is critical to developing their confidence and ambitions for the future.

"All these organisations play a pivotal role in helping those most in need access key resources, from donating thousands of books, to empowering teachers and volunteers to best support students.

"We are proud to partner with them and Marcus Rashford MBE, a passionate advocate for enabling vulnerable youth to discover the joy of reading, to help ensure young students around the world get better opportunities to create, develop and grow."

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