Adult literacy programme The Reading Agency had been forced to bring its scheme Quick Reads to an end after struggling to balance the books – until author Jojo Moyes stepped in to save it from closure.
The best-selling Me Before You scribe gave the charity three years’ worth of funding for the scheme, which produces engaging short stories designed to break down the barriers to reading for adults.
Jojo’s contribution will allow The Reading Agency to continue to commission books to help adult readers as well as initiating works with authors to distribute short in libraries, prisons, colleges, hospitals and adult-learning organisations.
The charity is hoping to have a relaunched range of short stories in place for 2020.
Author @jojomoyes is using her own money to save an adult literacy scheme from closure after it lost its sponsorship.
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) May 10, 2018
Jojo, who also contributed to Quick Reads in 2015 with her book Paris for One, said: “Like so many, I was shocked that a scheme helping many people to read was going to close, especially at a time when libraries struggle for funding.
“As an author who has not just written a Quick Read, but seen up close the real impact these books can have, I decided it was too important to be allowed to end. I am lucky enough to be in a position to help, and proud to provide the support it needs for the next three years.
The Big Issue has inspired the launch of 120 street papers globally, including sister titles in Australia, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
Quick Reads has already had an impact on adult literacy in the UK – reaching 1.4 million people every year while 95 per cent of literacy practitioners report that the books boosted learners’ reading confidence and 91 per cent have found that they have helped to directly improve literacy skills.
“It was with a heavy heart that we announced the end of Quick Reads last month, after seeking ongoing support for the initiative for 18 months,” said Sue Wilkinson, The Reading Agency chief executive. “We couldn’t be more thankful to Jojo for recognising the importance of the scheme and so generously providing the funding to enable it to continue.”
We’re so thrilled that #QuickReads will be continuing, thanks to the generosity and all-round awesomeness of @jojomoyes. Here’s to even more brilliant stories being read and shared by less confident readers 🙌 https://t.co/ji8lOWQac9
— World Book Night UK (@WorldBookNight) May 10, 2018
— Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) May 10, 2018
Baroness Gail Rebuck DBE, who founded Quick Reads in 2006 and also supports the Big Issue-backed Independent Bookshops Alliance, added: “Jojo Moyes’ astonishingly generous gift to The Reading Agency to fund a further 3 years is the most welcome news. Her vision and commitment to bring the joy of reading to all will be celebrated by the whole publishing industry. Thank you Jojo!”
Last week, Big Issue editor Paul McNamee called on “those with real power to effect positive change” to be called upon following the news that superstar DJ Calvin Harris is making an intervention of his own by trying to save a fish factory in his hometown. And Jojo wasted no time in answering the call to arms.