Youngsters turn over a new leaf with Dolly’s Imagination Library...

Annalise Elam, Hastings Mayor Judy Rogers, 'Dolly Parton',  Rotarians Chris Foley and Peter Cocker SUS-160921-140721001
Annalise Elam, Hastings Mayor Judy Rogers, 'Dolly Parton', Rotarians Chris Foley and Peter Cocker SUS-160921-140721001
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A book gifting scheme launched in America by iconic country singer Dolly Parton to encourage young children to read has arrived in St Leonards.

Dolly’s Imagination Library, founded in her home town of Tennessee in 1995, has had global success. The UK website was launched in 2007 and currently has over 29,000 children registered. In a letter on her website Dolly describes the program as ‘one of the most important ways I know to improve the educational opportunities for children in your community.’

Primary school teacher Annalise Elam was determined to bring the scheme to the local area and she approached The Rotary Club of Senlac - which serves Hastings and Rother - to provide help and funding to set up the scheme. They agreed and the Imagine Nation Library (as it is known locally) was set up at Turner House, St Leonards on Sea.

Senlac Rotary Press Officer, Colin Goldsack says Turner House, which offers accommodation and support services to single young women and lone parents from the age of 16, was selected for the first tranche. “In February 2016 the initial ten children at Turner House received their first books,” he said.

“Each of these children receives one book each month, posted to their home. These children have been funded by The Rotary Club of Senlac to continue to receive these books until the age of five.”

The children have also received hand quilts made by members of Linus Quilts. Imagine Nation can now continue to sign up new children who arrive at Turner House thanks to funding from Good Gifts.

The scheme was officially launched at Turner House on September 8. Guests joining Annalise included Hastings Mayor Judy Rogers, local councillors, and representatives from the Rotary Club of Senlac,

Colin added: “Imagine Nation Library is reliant on support from sponsors to provide the books and the more sponsors there are the more young children can be helped.”

For more information or to sponsor Imagine Nation contact Annalise by e-mail at: annaliseelam@btinternet.com

To find out more about Imagination Library visit the website at: www.imaginationlibrary.com