Penguin Random House UK is distributing free books to some of the communities most affected by the coronavirus crisis, including families on low incomes and older people facing isolation.
By getting thousands of books into the hands of people who face particular hardship or distress during the coming weeks, our aim is to provide mental stimulation, company and comfort at a time when people will need the power of books more than ever.
We are distributing books through a partnership with the community platform Neighbourly, which supports a national network of foodbanks and community causes that deliver food parcels to people’s homes, as well as grassroots groups that support older people facing social isolation.
With communities across the country under severe strain, as social isolation, school closures and a reduction in charitable donations all cause increased difficulties for those in greatest need, we have teamed up with Neighbourly to offer relief and escapism in challenging times. New figures show that nearly a million people applied for universal credit in the last fortnight, a surge in welfare support that highlights the depth of the income crisis.
The range of charities and community groups who will receive the books and offer them as part of their essential services are included on our Neighbourly campaign page – here are just three examples of the causes who have received our books this week:
- UK Harvest: a food rescue operation which collects excess food from restaurants, supermarkets, hotels, events and others – and delivers them direct and free of charge to charities nationwide, including food banks
- Rhythms of Life: a homeless charity operating in Islington, Camden and Westminster
- The Bus Shelter Ipswich: a converted bus and community group offering shelter and food to homeless people in Ipswich