Parents set to read and smile with book donations

A collection of short stories is encouraging more Lisburn parents to curl up with a good book and rediscover the joy of reading, whilst ultimately inspiring their children to become avid readers.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 10:04 am
Pictured from left are Sarah Ratcliffe (Help Kids Talk co-ordinator) Kirsty McKissick (local parent) and Natalie Latham (Specsavers Lisburn dispensing optician and store director)

‘Stories to Make You Smile’ was co-commissioned earlier this year by Specsavers and UK charity The Reading Agency and features touching yet funny tales by bestselling authors including well-known television names Richard Madeley, Jenny Éclair and Helen Lederer.

The short stories book celebrated the 10th year of World Book Night, which in Northern Ireland was supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the MAC and Libraries NI.

Lisburn Specsavers based in Bow Street, donated copies of ‘Stories to Make You Smile’ to Early Intervention Lisburn, who will be distributing the books to parents via their Help Kids Talk initiative. This community wide programme aims to encourage everyone to play their part in supporting children’s communication development whether they be a parent, grandparent, teacher, childminder or work in an organization that provides services for children.

Sarah Ratcliffe, Help Kids Talk Co-ordinator explained the rationale behind the project:c“At Help Kids Talk we recognise and promote the link between infant mental health, brain development and communication development. Parenting can be hard sometimes and we want to support our parents to pay attention to their own mental wellbeing so that they can look after their children’s mental health.

“We hope that our parents will take some ‘time out’ for themselves and enjoy reading the lovely, uplifting stories in this book. We’re thrilled to receive these books and to work in partnership with Lisburn Specsavers. By working together, we can make a difference to the lives of our children and young people.”

Natalie Latham, dispensing optician and partner at Specsavers Lisburn said: “We’re so pleased to support Early Intervention Lisburn and their Help Kids Talk initiative. I’ve read the short stories myself and they really do make you smile and will definitely encourage even the most reluctant reader to pick up and read more books. It’s so good after the past 18 months to get back out into the local Lisburn community and see the great work being down to support and develop people and children living in the area.”

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland commented, “Experiencing the joy of reading is something that we can benefit from and this year, more than ever, reading and having a story to escape into has taken on a renewed importance in so many of our lives.

“We had a fantastic response to World Book Night in Northern Ireland and it is wonderful to see another local community group benefitting from the initiative, thanks to Specsavers.’

For more information about Help Kids Talk, email [email protected]