The book, called Stockton Stories, has been created by Castlegate Shopping Centre and Wellington Square in the heart of Stockton-on-Tees as a community project with two purposes. The first was to create a record of what the coronavirus pandemic has been like for children in Teesside and the second to raise money for Bookmark, the reading charity, to help local children with their reading skills.
Primary school pupils were invited to write about their experiences over the past year and what they would like children of the future to know about the pandemic. Over 600 fantastic stories, poems and pictures were received, from which the shopping centre teams selected their favourite 50 to include in the book.
Each child that had their story included in the book received a £10 book token and the three schools that submitted the most entries each received £100 to spend on books. The three winning schools were St. Patrick’s Catholic Primary School, Roseberry Primary School and St Cuthberts.
“We were overwhelmed not only by the number of entries we received for the competition, but by the high standard of entries. It made it very difficult to choose just 50 stories to include in the book” said Chantal Taylor, Marketing Manager at Castlegate and Wellington Square.
Matt Boxall, Centre Manager said “It is great to be able to work in partnership with so many of our local schools to produce this charity book and to raise money to help children with their reading.”
Corporate Partnerships Executive Laura Burke said: “With more children than ever needing help with their reading this year, we’re thrilled to be a part of Stockton Stories and are really looking forward to reading some of the children’s writing about their experiences during lockdown. A big thank you from us here at Bookmark and on behalf of the children who will get extra support.”
Stockton Stories is available to purchase from the Castlegate Management Office for just £2.50 with all monies raised donated to Bookmark, the reading charity.