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The Nechells POD ‘Reading Zone Project’, United Kingdom

The Smurfit Kappa Foundation funds the Nechells POD Reading Zone Project to improve the reading ages of children in primary school’

Nechells POD is a ‘Safe Haven’ in the heart of Nechells which offers support and development to the local community. It is based in the centre of one of the most disadvantaged areas of Birmingham where over 53% of the children are living in households below the poverty line. 

The goal of the Nechells POD is to develop children and young people, improve their grades and keep them out of trouble as well as supporting the local community to raise aspirations, bring about social cohesion and develop community empowerment.

The Smurfit Kappa SSK paper mill is also located in Nechells and employs over 110 people. One of our employees, who is involved in the Nechells POD, approached the Smurfit Kappa Foundation to funding consideration.

In 2013, Nechells POD was looking to improve the reading ages of children in primary school which was much lower than peers in more affluent areas of the city and across England.

The Smurfit Kappa Foundation was delighted to be able to fund the Reading Zone Project.  The objectives of this project were:

• To enable identified children to have an increased number of books at home.
• To encourage reading and a love of books at home. 
• To promote interest in reading at an early age.
• To encourage families to value reading and sharing of books.
• To increase reading standards (age appropriate)

In 2014, Smurfit Kappa Foundation also expanded on this by providing funding to set up a library for 11-12 year olds so that they can continue to improve their reading standards and enjoyment of reading as they advance to secondary education.