Home News Children’s Books Ireland scoops top prize in £1,000,000 giveaway

Children’s Books Ireland scoops top prize in £1,000,000 giveaway

Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland, and David Lane, Managing Director of Ecclesiastical Ireland, pictured with 6th class pupils Chelsea Breen and Sean Aren at St. Mary’s National School, Dorset Street, Dublin. (Pic: Robbie Reynolds)

Children’s Books Ireland has today been announced as one of the charities to receive a combined £1,000,000, and split into amounts of £50,000 (approx. €55,000) per charity, as part of Ecclesiastical insurance group’s ‘Movement for Good’ awards. The award, described as transformational by Children’s Books Ireland, will mean that the charity, which aims to ensure that every child in Ireland has access to the joy of reading, can add 60 new schools in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to its programme. 

With a presence in Ireland for almost 40 years, and operating globally for over 130 years, Ecclesiastical is a unique insurance group that exists to give all of its distributable profits to charity. It has given £100million to charity over the past five years and is the fourth largest corporate giver in the UK.

The ‘Movement for Good’ awards is the latest initiative from Ecclesiastical to disburse funds to deserving causes in the communities it serves.  The awards announced today bring to £1million the total given to charities across Ireland and the UK this year.  

To win the awards, charities had to submit an entry showing how their work helped to create a ‘Movement for Good’ in society.  Earlier this summer 500 charities across Ireland and the UK were awarded donations of £1,000 each in the initial phase of the awards.  Among these 500 charities were 25 charities from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The second-round grants have now been announced.  From nearly 800 entries, 10 charitable organisations will now benefit from £50,000 grants, with Children’s Books Ireland being among the winners.

The funds will allow Children’s Books Ireland to expand its Book of the Year Awards Shadowing Scheme which encourages children to read widely and vote in the Children’s Choice Award. The expanded scheme will provide children and schools with shortlisted books, specially designed activity packs, and school visits from authors and illustrators.

Each of the £50,000 awards in the Movement for Good are designed to help charities take their innovative projects to the next level in the fields of education, skills, arts, culture and heritage, as well as citizenship or community development. 

David Lane, Managing Director of Ecclesiastical Ireland, said: “Reading is such an important life skill and the ability to read is a key factor in helping people to reach their full potential.  To be able to help Children’s Books Ireland expand its programme to an additional 60 schools in Ireland is simply fantastic for the entire team here in Ecclesiastical.

“As a specialist insurer covering schools, charities, heritage and faith sectors, our core purpose in Ecclesiastical is to contribute to the greater good of society. We do that by giving all our distributable profits to good causes and so charitable giving is at the heart of our business. This summer our Movement for Good awards have motivated over 4,000 members of the public across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to support and nominate causes close to their heart. Now we are excited to see how this next financial boost will create a lasting legacy for all the award winners.”

Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland, added: “We were absolutely thrilled when we heard that we were one of the ten winners of £50,000 awards from Ecclesiastical. Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of our Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards and the grant from Ecclesiastical is transformational. This grant enables us to extend the associated shadowing scheme to 60 new schools across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland over the next three years.

“Research published by the Arts Council of Ireland and the ESRI shows that, among children aged 9-13, those who report they spend no time reading increases from 8% to 21%. We know that children who read tend to have better academic skills and improved wellbeing so we will be working with this age group to bring their schools a diverse supply of shortlisted books, tailored activity packs and visits from authors and illustrators.

“Funding programmes like this are vitally important to charities, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank Ecclesiastical and all of our supporters and funders for helping us to extend the reach and increase the impact of our shadowing scheme.”

An amazing 98,000 people around Ireland and the UK supported the Movement for Good awards during its first phase earlier this year, with over 7,000 charitable causes up and down the islands receiving votes. The 500 winning charities were picked at random from those nominated.

Phase two saw 800 project submissions for the £50,000 awards. Following a review of all the applications, over 20,000 people showed support for a shortlist of 15 charities before a panel of judges made their final selection of the winning projects. 

For further information on the Movement for Good Awards and for a full list of the winning charities phase visit: www.ecclesiastical.com/movement-for-good

The 10 charities awarded £50,000 were:

  • Children’s Books Ireland
  • Colchester Arts Centre
  • Disability Sports Coach
  • Give A Dog a Bone… and an animal a home
  • Gloucestershire Young Carers
  • Mahdlo (Oldham Youth Zone)
  • People Know How
  • The Candlelighters Trust
  • The Footprints Project
  • The Jericho Foundation

Children’s Books Ireland

CBI is the national children’s books organisation of Ireland. Through their many activities and events they aim to engage young people with books, foster a greater understanding of the importance of books for young people and act as a core resource for those with an interest in books for children in Ireland. https://childrensbooksireland.ie