Letterbox Club in Wales began in 2009 as a pilot programme, funded by Basic Skills Cymru via the Welsh Government. It was made available to all 22 Welsh local authorities.
How the programme works in Wales
The programme focuses on improving the educational outlook for children aged 7-13 in foster families by providing them with a parcel of books, maths activities and stationery items once every month for six months.
In February 2012, the Welsh Government announced three-year grant funding for Letterbox Club, meaning looked-after children in Wales will receive parcels up to and including 2014.
Letterbox Club parcels aim to provide equal access in Welsh and English and are bilingual, containing Welsh and English books. Rob Lewis and Nicola Davies are two of the authors who have featured in the parcels.
Forging local partnerships
Letterbox Club aims to work in partnership with Literature Wales, to offer a range of activities to engage young people in Wales in reading and provide local authorities with ideas for potential link-up with Letterbox Club children, including author visits, library events and festival involvement. Literature Wales has existing funding to carry out this work in partnership with local authorities.
Freda Lewis, Director of Fostering Network Wales, has given her endorsement of the Letterbox Club in Wales. She attended the information day held in Cardiff in May 2011 and said she had seen children benefit from the programme. She regards Letterbox Club as an important intervention.
The Children's Commissioner for Wales, Keith Towler, is also a supporter of the Letterbox Club. Looked-after children are high on his priority list and he would like to reach some of these children via the programme.
Information days for Looked-After Children's Education (LACE) Coordinators are held annually and the Letterbox Club team continues to provide support and guidance for the staff of all participating local authorities.
An evaluation of the impact of the Letterbox Club initiative in Wales incorporating data collected during the Pilot Study undertaken across 2009-2010, along with further data collected in 2011.
Authors Rose Griffiths and Dr Chris Comber, University of Leicester School of Education.