Councillor David Mellen reading to children of Sneinton CofE school.

A Nottingham City councillor has launched his Big Reading Challenge  to read to 5,000 children in 50 days as part of Dolly Parton’s library scheme.

Coun David Mellen’s challenge will aim to raise £5,000 to give free books to children in the city.

The first day of the challenge took place at the top of Green’s Windmill in Sneinton with children from neighbouring Sneinton C of E Primary School joining in the fun.

This year, he plans to read to school classes and assemblies, nursery and library groups, children’s centres and children in hospital to reach his goal.

Funds raised by the Big Reading Challenge will go to the Imagination Library – a scheme that delivers a free book every month to children from birth to five-years-old set up by the country singing sensation.

Coun Mellen said: “Our children deserve the best possible start in life. We know that reading with children is one of the best ways to set them up for a bright future.

“Unfortunately in Nottingham, too many of our children start school behind the expected literacy levels. The Imagination Library is proven to change this.

“This charity ensures that every child receives a free book every month. It’s about giving our children the joy of reading.”

The Imagination Library scheme in Nottingham was set up in 2009 and is now running successfully in 10 of the city’s 20 wards.

Councillor David Mellen with school children at Green’s Windmill, Snienton.

Coun Mellen added: “I am delighted the Imagination Library is now running in 10 wards across the city, but we want to go further and roll it out to all children living in Nottingham, making sure every child benefits from receiving a free book every month. To do this, the charity desperately needs more funds.

“Reading to 5,000 children over 50 days is an ambitious challenge but it’s a cause I feel strongly about. I hope that I am able to raise funds to give even more children the best start in life.”

Coun Mellen is asking for sponsorship money and is hoping to raise at least £5,000.

Every donation helps:

  • £2 can pay for a child to get a new book
  • £25 can pay for a child to get a new book each month for a year
  • £125 pays for a child to get a book every month from birth until their 5th birthday

Councillor Mellen’s fundraising page can be found at: