About the Letterbox Club
The Letterbox Club is a programme managed by Booktrust, in partnership with the University of Leicester, which aims to provide enjoyable educational support for looked-after children aged 7-13.
Letterbox Club is available on a subscription basis and each child enrolled by participating local authorities is sent a parcel of books, maths activities, stationery and other materials once every month for six months, from May to October.
Each child participating in the programme receives the brightly coloured parcels directly addressed to them at home. The Letterbox Club is also suitable for other children who would benefit, such as those placed for adoption or for post-adoption support.
Letterbox Club research
Research shows that children in care underachieve in education, but evaluation from pilots of the Letterbox Club has shown that providing parcels designed to encourage fun learning has had a demonstrable impact. Many children began to make more significant changes in their standardised score in reading.
Letterbox Club reach
- Booktrust received support from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) to extend the programme to 1,600 children in 2007-08
- In 2009, the Letterbox Club opened to every local authority in the United Kingdom, with over 4,500 children enrolled across the 129 authorities
- 2010 saw further expansion with 4,545 children and 140 local authorities involved
- In 2011, there were again more than 100 local authorities involved with 4,500 children enrolled.
- 2012 saw a record level of sign up, with 120 local authorities and over 5,000 children enrolled.
Letterbox Club parcels
Each Letterbox Club parcel arrives in a brightly coloured package addressed to the child. Each child receives a letter and a range of books that have been carefully selected by the panel at Booktrust for the children in the programme. They also receive number games and a range of stationery items.
Over the six-month period the parcels will also include other items such as a library joining card or information about how to join a library, name plates, bookmarks and letters from a selection of children’s authors. We are developing a varied list of possible materials to be added.
After being a member of the Letterbox Club for six months the child will have built up their own small library of books, a collection of number games and a variety of stationery items.
Funders and Supporters
The Siobhan Dowd Trust is the legacy of one of the UK's most talented children's writers, Siobhan Dowd, who died in 2007 at the age of 47.
Siobhan founded the Trust shortly before her death, bequeathing the royalties from her books to bring the joy and delight of reading to disadvantaged children who have little or no access to books.
Supporting the pilot of Letterbox Green, for looked-after children aged 11-13, was one of the very first grants awarded by the Trust. Chair of Trustees, Tony Bradman said:
Letterbox actually ticked all our boxes. It’s about literacy and it’s specific, and it’s targeted, and it goes to kids who really, really need it. And it’s bringing the joy of reading to them.
We work in partnership with Fostering Network Northern Ireland to deliver Letterbox Club via its Fostering Achievement programme. This successful partnership was recognised in 2011 with a Third Sector Excellence Award in the Charity Partnership category.
Fostering Network CEO, Robert Tapsfield said:
We know that all too often children in care struggle in school and fall behind their peers in terms of academic achievement. Access to the fun and inspiring materials that the Letterbox Club sends out is helping young fostered children to meet their potential at a key stage in their development.