In December 2018, the Cherry Orchard School Student Council met with Headteacher Maria Hill and Deputy Mayor of London Joanne McCartney. They met to discuss the promotion of healthy eating within the school but the Student Council were also keen to talk over their wishes for the coming year. They unanimously agreed that they wanted somewhere quiet and calm to read a book if they didn’t want to play outside during break time. After seeing how passionate the pupils were about this project, Maria managed to allocate some school funding to allow the chalet to be built. Unfortunately, with funding across all schools extremely tight, there was no remaining budget to furnish it, or stock it with any books.
Having read about the Library Project the Acorn Book Club undertook last summer at St Saviour’s school, Beth Axtell, a Governor and parent at Cherry Orchard, contacted Acorn’s CSR Manager Emma Fox to inform her of their plans to build a Reading Chalet. With a rising concern in children’s mental health across the UK, and a number of children with Special Educational Needs at Cherry Orchard, many children find the chaos of a school playground a challenging environment.
Following a meeting at the school and seeing first-hand how determined the pupils were to make their Reading Chalet dreams become a reality, the ABC swiftly confirmed that they would be delighted to provide the books and soft furnishings in order to create the calm and cosy space the pupils wished for.
With the Easter holiday’s looming, the chalet construction work was given the go ahead immediately and the structure was complete within 10 days. The ABC then set to work assembling furniture, decorating the beams with fairy lights and stocking bookshelves full of over 650 fantastic books donated by the public, their staff and clients.
On Wednesday 24th April, just one day after returning back to school for the Summer Term, the School Council saw their dream become a reality. Officially opened by the Mayor of Greenwich, Christine May, the pupils launched their very own Reading Chalet alongside their proud parents and teachers. Maria Hill said of the Chalet “Some children just want to sit quietly and read a good book during their break times and here at Cherry Orchard we really foster a love of reading. It’s great to see the School Council’s plans come to life with over 650 books donated by the Acorn Book Club”.
The Acorn Book Club are thrilled to have been involved in another project which they hope will encourage more children to read for pleasure, and urge anyone with books to donate to drop them to their local Acorn Group office where they can be given to other local schools in need of resources.