A new school library has been officially opened at a community primary school in east Leeds – thanks to the fundraising efforts of an entire village which has contributed to its creation.
Children’s author Jeremy Davies visited South Milford Primary to host event sessions with students as its new library.
It has taken nearly a year of fundraising from governors, parents and teachers to get to this stage, with parishioners and local businesses chipping in to raise almost £23,000.
Fostering a love of literature is key at an early age, said headteacher Melanie Lawrence, and while the school didn’t have the resource to fund a new library, the community had recognised its importance.
“Many schools are struggling financially in the current climate,” said Mrs Lawrence. “Here at South Milford, we don’t have any additional funding to tackle a big project like rejuvenating a library.
“Now, we’ve been able to give the children something the school budget just couldn’t stretch to. We’re a village school, we should be at the heart of the village, and the whole community has helped to support it.”
Governors, alongside members of the Friends of South Milford School, had sought support from the parish council and local businesses, with some including employees of Santander and British Gypsum even dedicating time over the holidays to visit the school and carry out much of the work themselves.
“There’s been a lot of research into reading as a key to success,” said Mrs Lawrence.
“If we can get our children reading, that feeds into all aspects of the curriculum. This is about bringing about a passion for reading.
“We are really keen to ensure that our children learn from a very early age.
“And even some of the most reluctant readers have been having a peek.
“The children have really enjoyed it.”