Today Penguin Random House UK has published its second Creative Responsibility report, detailing progress towards our 2020 goals across four focus areas of Reading, Community, Inclusion and Sustainability.
We launched our Creative Responsibility Manifesto in 2016, setting out a mission to help close the creativity gap – defined as the gap that exists because not everyone in society has an equal opportunity to meet their creative potential.
The report is presented as a visual scrolling web page and features individual people as case studies to bring the impact of the programme’s successes so far to life. It can be viewed here.
Some highlights from the report include:
- An increase in the number of colleague volunteer readers who work each week with children struggling with their reading at local schools from 75 in 2016 to 106 in 2017;
- The culmination of three-year partnership with creative writing charity Ministry of Stories which raised over £190,000, saw colleagues volunteer 1,200 hours, and reached over 2,000 disadvantaged young people;
- The co-foundation of Read North East together with the National Literacy Trust, which aims to mark a new chapter for literacy in the region, and includes the donation of over 3,000 books to local families;
- An increase in book donations to charity from 89,247 in 2016 to 129,480 in 2017;
- An increase in the percentage of new hires who identify as BAME, LGBTQ and with a disability in 2017;
- Six acquisitions from authors discovered through the company’s WriteNow programme, together with welcoming 300 writers to 6 regional WriteNow events and mentoring 23 writers to date;
- The creation of an accessible Work Experience programme by paying all 450 participants each year, offering subsidised accommodation for candidates joining from outside London, and removing personal referrals;
- An increase in the percentage of sustainably soured paper from 93% in 2016 to 98% in 2017 (defined as Forest Stewardship Council certified).
Siena Parker, Head of Creative Responsibility, said:
"It’s great to see the hard work of so many people brought to life in one place. We believe that creativity matters enormously to society, now and even more so in the future. Our aim is that everyone should have the opportunity to develop their creative skills and access the creative industries, regardless of who they are or where they come from. We all need to do more to achieve that ultimate goal.”
Zainab Juma, Creative Manager at Penguin Random House, featured as a case study, said:
"Penguin started as a way to get literature into people's hands in a way that was affordable and accessible. That revolutionary spirit is something that we can also apply now – this International Women's Day we created the Like A Woman pop-up shop and only sold books by women, and our Penguin Pride events give a platform to performers from across the LGBTQ+ community.
"There's a value to a brand like Penguin enabling communities to take up room. Sometimes it's about us elevating other people's voices, and sometimes it's about the voice actually going through us.
"The idea of having a seat at the table isn't just a metaphorical one, it's literally giving people a seat at the table, and if that's something we can do with the brand then that's awesome."
Kirsty Capes, a WriteNow mentee also featured as a case study, said:
"One thing I didn't expect was how WriteNow would make me feel about myself. I'd say I'm quite a confident person, but this whole experience has been so validating… now I believe in myself more."
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