We are proud to announce our partnership with Nottingham City Council on an innovative new project aimed to encourage young families to develop their reading and mathematical skills in the beautiful setting of the city’s parks. StoryParks will be a seven week interactive outdoor pop-up reading and numeracy camp with activities and games. The pop-ups will take place in five of Nottingham city’s Green Flag parks; Forest Recreation Ground, Woodthorpe Grange, Vernon Park, Highfields Park and Wollaton Hall and Deer Park.
Nottingham Building Society supports growth of StoryParks
The project has been developed to address Nottingham’s issues with low attainment in literacy in Key Stage 2 with only 61% of children in the city achieving expected standards in reading. Nottingham North was ranked the constituency with the 8th greatest literacy need, with Nottingham East 14th and Nottingham South 116th out of 533 constituencies.
Cllr Dave Trimble, portfolio holder for leisure and localities said: “It is fitting that this project takes place in our city as Nottingham is also one of 4 UNESCO Cities of Literature in the UK. We’re very excited about this really different approach to learning and very grateful to The Nottingham for assisting us in making this happen."
Sessions at the StoryParks pop-ups will be themed around nature and the environment and people will have the option to drop in and use the project resources but also to get involved with programmed activities, which will include storytelling, Park Ranger sessions and many more. Our combined project will take place from Monday 8th July until Saturday 31st August 2019.
The Nottingham will be supporting the project with a donation of £15,000 and will also provide a team of helpers from our highly successful staff volunteering programme. Nottingham Building Society staff are offered two volunteering days a year as part of their contracts to spend time with a charity that falls within our community key focuses of education in the community centred around numeracy and literacy and homelessness.
Samuel Fox - the Society's founder
The inspiration for the project is the story of our founder, Samuel Fox. Born in the city in the 1700s, Fox was an abolition quaker, keen philanthropist and supporter of education for all. He started the first ‘Adult School’ in 1798 to enable his workers and the community to practice reading and writing. Fox had a passion for reading, writing and encouraging others to receive a basic education. He recruited amateur and volunteer teachers to teach adult students who otherwise would never progress.
The ‘Adult School’ movement in Birmingham was influenced by the work he saw in Nottingham in 1842. The movement was managed by the Society of Friends (Quakers) and in Nottingham, the school buildings next to the Friar lane meeting house became a school funded by this branch.
Fox ran a grocery store on High Street, Nottingham, it was at the junction of Victoria Street, High Street and Bridlesmith Gate. The store was opened in 1775 by William Fox (Fox’s father) as a corn merchant, wholesale and retail grocer, and seed merchant until son Samuel Fox took over.
David Marlow, Chief Executive Officer at The Nottingham said; “We are thrilled to be supporting Nottingham City Council to help the StoryParks project come to life. Sharing the story of our founder, Samuel Fox, and the positive impact he had on the lives of people in Nottingham, by encouraging reading and literacy seems a very fitting tribute in our 170th year. Our contribution is a demonstration that 170 years on, we remain committed to supporting the communities we operate in. Our Society was built on positive social purpose and today we provide products and services built on advice to help our members strive for a better financial future, which numeracy and literacy skills are integral to. We hope the residents of Nottingham and beyond enjoy the StoryParks activities this summer.”