Chiswick Book Festival gives £11,000 to charities 

Image above: Fr Kevin Morris, vicar of St Michael & All Angels Church; Justine Daniels, CEO, Read for Good; Brian Smith, volunteer, Doorstep Library; Nirjay Mahindru, CEO, InterAct Stroke Support,  receiving their cheques; Photograph Roger Green

£2,750 each for three reading charities and St Michael & All Angels Church

Chiswick Book Festival has donated £2,750 each to three reading charities and St Michael & All Angels Church from the proceeds of last year’s festival featuring Dame Eileen Atkins, Chris Patten, Cressida Cowell, Reverend Richard Coles and other authors.

The three reading charites to benefit are Doorstep Library, InterAct Stroke Support and Read for Good.

Doorstep Library runs home reading projects for disadvantaged children in Hammersmith and Fulham; InterAct Stroke Support provides actors to read books to stroke patients in west London hospitals; Read for Good helps children to read for pleasure through programmes in schools and hospitals.

St Michael & All Angels Church hosts and administers the festival and is itself a charity.

Since the Festival started in 2009, it has raised more than £120,000 for reading and community charities, including St Michael & All Angels Church, which runs it as part of its mission of arts and community outreach. The festival donates all its profit after costs to its charity partners and actively promotes their activities and need for volunteers throughout the year. Each year, it supports three nominated charities alongside the church.

Torin Douglas, MBE

Torin Douglas, director of the Chiswick Book Festival, said:

“After the COVID lockdown, we were glad to be back to full capacity again and we’re delighted to give these sums to such worthwhile charities. We’re very grateful to our authors, venues, volunteers, sponsors and those who bought tickets, who made it possible.”

Two of the current charities – Doorstep Library and InterAct Stroke Support – are benefitting for the last time after several years of support. They were joined in 2022 by Read for Good, which is using the Festival’s funds to provide books and storyteller visits for seriously ill children in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

Katie Bareham, CEO of Doorstep Library, said:

“Thank you so much for the fantastic donation. We have loved being part of the festival over the years and are extremely grateful to you for your support. I’m so pleased that our volunteer Brian Smith, who first heard about Doorstep Library through the Chiswick Book Festival, could represent us at the handover.”

Nirjay Mahindru, CEO of InterAct Stroke Support, said:

“We are extremely grateful for such a wonderful sum and thank you for the many years of generosity to InterAct. We are now working on projects with Read For Good as a result of being introduced by the Chiswick Book Festival!”

Church announces two new charities to support with this year’s festival

For three years from 2023, alongside Read for Good, the Festival will support Koestler Arts, the leading prison arts charity, which is based in W12 and promotes writing, reading and literacy in the criminal justice system, and Read Easy Ealing, a new charity set up in 2021, which provides one-to-one reading tuition for local adults who want to learn to read or improve their reading skills.

The national Read Easy charity came to prominence through a BBC documentary about Jay Blades, presenter of The Repair Shop, who learned to read at the age of 51.

Justine Daniels, CEO of Read for Good said:

“We are truly grateful for this donation, which is wonderful, and we are also very appreciative of the other lovely ripple effects that have happened as a result of us working with Chiswick Book Festival. We look forward to working with your two new charities at this year’s Festival.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

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