London Freemasons help Doorstep Library

The Masonic Charitable Foundation has donated £5,000 to support Doorstep Library, which was founded in 2010 as an independent charity to establish Doorstep Libraries in the London Borough of Hammersmith& Fulham. Doorstep Library supports children from the poorest families which are less likely to have books, less likely to read with their parents and less likely to read for pleasure. Not only are they more likely to fall behind in their studies as a result, they fall behind in their lives.

Volunteers work in pairs, carrying a rucksack full of books, and small stools to sit on. They visit each family once a week during term-time, read stories with the children and lend them books to exchange when they return the following week. They emphasise the fun element, and use the power of stories to let the children generate their own interest, which is the most effective motivation for learning.

PJ a volunteer of 2 years, a Fulham based project told us, “Last school year a family was referred to us by another DSL family. Mom apparently struggled with social anxiety. We knocked on that door for months last year with no results. I believe Kirsty and I started together with this family one year ago in September. Then one day during the spring term last year, they answered the door. This is a delightful family with three children. Mom is outgoing and friendly to us and we have also met dad. The children are usually bathed and waiting for us in their pyjamas when we arrive. They interrupt their dinner to greet us. The books are usually stacked and waiting to be swapped. We usually swap and read a bit at the doorstep but dad invited us in one time when mom was not there and at a school conference. Mom loves books and the children read and are read to regularly.”

Katie Bareham, Director of Doorstep Library commented; “We are extremely grateful to the Masonic Charitable Trust for their generous support of our projects. We are currently embarking on an exciting three-year expansion plan that will see us start additional projects in four new London boroughs, increasing our beneficiaries from 450 to 2,000 children. This grant will help us with these ambitious plans, giving us the capacity to share a love of reading among more disadvantaged London children.”