Thursday, 23 December 2010

Charity Cancellation

The Government has scrapped public funding for the charity Booktrust, and because it was wholly-funded by the taxpayer, it will now likely have to close.

There have been howls of derision from the left, arguing about the sterling work that Booktrust undertakes, including the Bookstart scheme, where every baby in the country is given a free pack of books in order to encourage them to read.

Truly laudable work.

However...

It is being funded wholly by the taxpayer.

It is therefore not a charity, where money is given in voluntary donations, but a Government department.

My children received the Bookstart packs when they were born. Did they read them? No. I had already bought books for them. I did not expect (or want) the State to provide that level of subsidy. They've received a couple of other packs of books as well. Have they read them? No. In actual fact, they have shown very little interest in those books. They are far more interested in the Mr. Men books, Harry Potter, Narnia, the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales, a wonderful book on Greek mythology that I had when I was a kid, Winnie the Pooh, Beatrix Potter and the like.

All bought by me, or given to them as gifts by my family.

I'll buy my own, thanks.

And of course, we're missing the most obvious point... babies don't read books. Parents do.

It is largely pointless giving free books to babies if the parents aren't going to read them. And, if you look at the average council estate, you begin to wonder whether the parents there can actually read at all.

If people consider the work of Booktrust to be so laudable and desirable, I invite them to put their hands in their pockets and fund it themselves. I don't want to.