Teesside Park has gifted bundles of popular children’s books and engaging activity booklets to local charity Little Sprouts Health and Wellbeing to support families in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

300 children’s books have been shared with local families, including Gargantis by Thomas Taylor and Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, along with free activity booklets filled with fun and educational worksheets based on familiar fictional characters such as Alex Rider, Judy Moody and Maisy Mouse.

Debbie Fixter from Little Sprouts Health and Wellbeing said: “It’s been great to watch so many of our local families get excited about the activity booklets and choosing brand new books to take home. This has really meant a lot to us and we know just how much of a difference they will make to children in our local area.”

This new initiative is led by Teesside Park’s owner, British Land, and the National Literacy Trust. It follows a long-running partnership to help encourage children to enjoy reading outside of the classroom and to provide them with the resources to do so.

Recent research from the National Literacy Trust reveals that children who own their own books are happier[1]. Yet, 1 in 11 children and young people in the UK don’t have a book of their own at home[2]. With many children not attending school due to Covid-19, this project aims to help tackle the problem and give local families brand-new books and educational materials.

Catherine Furlong, centre director at Teesside Park, added: “Encouraging children to love to read and giving them access to their own books is so important, especially at this particularly difficult time.

“We’re really pleased to be able to continue to work with the National Literacy Trust to support amazing local organisations such Little Sprouts Health and Wellbeing.”

As part of British Land’s partnership with the National Literacy Trust, families in Stockton on Tees also have free access to virtual storytelling sessions which support children’s listening and creative skills and help to spark a love of stories.

The ‘Young Readers Story Club’ videos feature professional storytellers sharing different stories each week, including award-winning children’s poet Dominic Berry and the storyteller Amanda Edmiston.

Linthorpe Community Primary School, Harewood Primary School and Tilery Primary School have be given exclusive ‘first look’ access to the videos before they are made available for local families to view on the National Literacy Trust’s Family Zone website.

Jonathan Douglas, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust, said: “Books have the power to enrich children’s lives – they fuel imaginations, help children learn new things and support mental wellbeing. Yet hundreds of thousands of children across the UK are missing out on these benefits at a time when they need them most, simply because they don’t have a book of their own.

“By bringing the magical world of stories into children’s homes through brand new books, activity booklets and incredible storytelling videos, this initiative will provide much needed inspiration and comfort during a time of uncertainty.”



Notes to editors


About the project


British Land supports communities local to its shopping centres, retail parks and office campuses. It is in its ninth year of partnering with the National Literacy Trust to encourage children to enjoy reading outside of the classroom. British Land has funded this new project to bring free books and activity booklets to local communities in response to the coronavirus crisis.

The National Literacy Trust works with schools, communities and businesses to ensure that children and families have access to the magical world of books. With families currently unable to access books from schools or libraries, the charity’s work is more important than ever.

Walker Books works with authors and illustrators to create some of the best stories children can find, including the books and worksheets in the activity booklet.


About Teesside Park, Stockton-on-Tees 

Teesside Park is one of the nation’s top shopping and leisure destinations offering a range of the UK’s favourite brands. The park opened in 1988 and now boasts over 60 stores and dining options, as well as a Hollywood Bowl and Showcase Cinema.

Stores include Next, Marks and Spencer, Boots, Superdry Pandora, Foot Asylum, H&M, Hobby Craft, JD Sports, Mamas & Papas, TUI, TK Maxx, Sports Direct and many more. Restaurants include Nando’s, Frankie and Benny’s, Pizza Express, Pizza Hut and TGI Fridays.

Teesside Park is easily accessed by car and the park has over 1,500 free car parking spaces. Getting there by public transport is also simple, with train and bus links conveniently located nearby.

Teesside Park is open from 9.00am – 8.00pm Monday to Saturday and 11.00am – 5.00pm on Sunday. Please note that some stores operate different hours within this – please check the ‘Shops’ page on the website for all individual opening hours.

If you’d like to keep up to date with everything that’s going on at Teesside, including all of the latest offers and events, visit www.teessideshopping.co.uk, or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

and illustrators to create some of the best stories

About British Land

Our portfolio of high quality UK commercial property is focused on London Offices and Retail around the UK. We own or manage a portfolio valued at £14.8bn (British Land share: £11.2bn) as at 31 March 2020 making us one of Europe’s largest listed real estate investment companies.

Our strategy is to provide places which meet the needs of our customers and respond to changing lifestyles – Places People Prefer. We do this by creating great environments both inside and outside our buildings and use our scale and placemaking skills to enhance and enliven them. This expands their appeal to a broader range of occupiers, creating enduring demand and driving sustainable, long term performance.

Our Offices portfolio comprises three office-led campuses in central London as well as high quality standalone buildings and accounts for 60% of our portfolio. Our Retail portfolio is focused on retail parks and shopping centres, and accounts for 35% of our portfolio. Increasingly our focus is on providing a mix of uses and this is most evident at Canada Water, our 53 acre redevelopment opportunity where we have plans to create a new neighbourhood for London.

Sustainability is embedded throughout our business. Our places, which are designed to meet high sustainability standards, become part of local communities, provide opportunities for skills development and employment and promote wellbeing. In April 2016 British Land received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development, the UK’s highest accolade for business success for economic, social and environmental achievements over a period of five years.

About the National Literacy Trust

The National Literacy Trust is a charity dedicated to improving the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of those who need it most, giving them the best possible chance of success in school, work and life.

The charity runs Literacy Hubs and campaigns in communities where low levels of literacy and social mobility are seriously impacting people’s lives. They support schools and early years settings to deliver outstanding literacy provision and campaign to make literacy a priority for politicians, businesses and parents. The charity’s research and analysis make it the leading authority on literacy in the UK and drive its interventions. Literacy is a vital element of action against poverty and the work of the National Literacy Trust changes children’s life stories.

Visit www.literacytrust.org.uk to find out more, donate or sign up for the free email newsletter. You can also find the National Literacy Trust on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944.  Registered address: 68 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1RL.

[1] National Literacy Trust (2018) – Book ownership, literacy engagement and mental wellbeing

[2] National Literacy Trust (2019) – Gift of reading: Children’s book ownership in 2019