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Bradford literacy project nominated as garden centre charity of the year

The team at Tong with Helen Verity from the National Literacy Trust

Tong Garden Centre has announced that a Bradford initiative of a national literacy charity will be its Charity of the Year for 2019. 

The team at Tong aims to raise £10,000 for Bradford Stories through a series of fund-raising events and collection boxes at the tills.

Bradford Stories is an initiative from the National Literacy Trust and Bradford Council to improve literacy levels in the city by promoting reading, writing, speaking and listening. 

Indoor manager Dennis Keen heads up the firm’s charity committee said: “We’re planning a whole host of fun initiatives for staff and customers to get involved with throughout the year, and we’re launching our campaign with the Tour De Yorkshire Ride on May 5, that will be led by our managing director, Mark Farnsworth, and a team that includes directors, staff, suppliers and friends. 

“The group hopes to raise £4,000 from the tough 78k ride on some of the same roads as the fourth and final stage of the Tour de Yorkshire pro race.” 

Imran Hafeez, manager of the National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Tong Garden Centre have chosen the National Literacy Trust as their charity of the year. Since launching Bradford Stories, we have delivered lots of inspiring projects and achieved great results. 

“However, there is still much more to be done and our partnerships with businesses are vital to ensure that every child in Bradford has the literacy skills they need to succeed.

“With the backing of fantastic Bradford businesses like Tong Garden Centre, we have the power to transform lives through literacy, creating a society where all children and young people have the same opportunities to fulfil their potential.” 

According to the National Literacy Trust, last year, one in three children in Bradford left primary school unable to read well and research shows that there is a strong link between low educational attainment and high poverty.

In fact, Bradford is repeatedly ranked amongst the most deprived places in England; in some parts nearly half of adults (47.2 per cenr) have literacy skills lower than those expected of an 11-year-old and one adult in three is held back by low literacy. These adults are far more likely to struggle to find a job and on becoming parents they will be unable to support their children’s literacy development.

“The community is at the heart of everything we do at Tong and we’re delighted to be able to help children and young people to grow by unlocking the opportunities that being able to read brings,” Tong’s marketing manager Jo Dales said. 

The Bradford Stories campaign focuses on sharing stories across the city, engaging dads in their child’s learning and the benefits of bilingualism.   

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