Homeless to receive free books

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Ian Rankin and Nicola Sturgeon have backed an initiative which aims to provide some solace to those sleeping rough

12th October 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A top Scots author has backed a scheme which will see books distributed to rough sleepers.

Ian Rankin, author of the Rebus series, alongside First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, is backing an initiative adopted by Edinburgh homelessness charity, Streetwork, which includes literacy classes and a network of outlets offering free books.

Streetreads will also see books being handed out to people on the streets and in emergency accommodation, recognising that a book can provide a place of space and solace.

An official celebration at the Storytelling Centre, in Edinburgh, coincided with a call out to well-known individuals in the literary world, to become ambassadors. Plus to the general public, to help hand out books, co-ordinate their collection and fundraise.

Streetreads is the brainchild of Rachel Cowan who started the scheme after she got to know a homeless person who was a keen reader.

She said: “The impact a book can have on a homeless reader is huge. Our books are given as a gift and are in excellent or even new condition so our readers know they are getting a present which is given with respect and love.”

Rankin: “I’ve been a long-time fan of Streetreads and have seen first-hand the great work they do. Books can transport us anywhere, to times and worlds that excite and stimulate. That’s hugely important, no matter who you are or what your circumstances.”

Lorraine McGrath, chief executive of Streetwork and its sister charity, Glasgow-based Simon Community Scotland, said: “Stories – our own and those of others – are a great way of connecting with each other and Streetreads is a beautifully-engaging way to do this.

“For most people, reading a book is a delightful, everyday pastime. Through Streetreads, this ordinary activity is more easily available to people facing and recovering from homelessness in Edinburgh.”