Monday, 28 March 2011

Spring into Action Week 4: Get Reading

Not every day in Spring is going to be suitable for outdoor activities, and even if it were, it's nice sometimes to spend some time reading and supporting your child's interest in books. This Saturday is the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen and International Children's Book Day. There will be events to mark the occasion all over the world, but here in Belfast I've organised a Book Swap and Family Fun day in aid of the Simon Community.

A great way encourage reusuability, children bring along a book or books, get a token and can redeem these against other books donated. In doing so they save paper, save trees and discover some amazing literary favourites and recommendations from other kids and parents.

My friends and I organised the event because we realise the importance of promoting second life in a society where it is easier, and more often than not, cheaper, to replace and upgrade rather than repair and re-use. This event is designed to encourage children to place value in second hand books, toys and other recycled items.

But we also understand just how vital the children’s arts community is here in Belfast. In light of recent cuts many children’s and charity events are struggling. Therefore we are working with artists, social development groups and charities to the mutual benefit of all involved. There will be puppet shows, story telling, toy jumble sales, craft stalls and music, but there will also be pedal powered smoothie makers from Suffolk Lodge that aim to raise awareness of healthy eating and childhood obesity. Plus, all door proceeds will be going to the Simon Community, along with other fundraising events on the day.

I'm also very excited to announce that the Book Swap will be held in association with the Big Lunch. The initiative, organised by the people behind the Eden project, aims to get as many people as possible across the country getting together with neighbours for lunch on or around the 5th June, helping to strengthen community relationships. Big Lunch representatives will be on hand on the day for anyone who wishes find out about taking part and you'll be able to read  more about the Big Lunch on Greensheen Kitchen in the next day or two.

The Book Swap will also link up with the Big Lunch’s World record attempt to produce the longest link of bunting, made by children from pieces of old material. The hope is that this will work in some respect to tackling the negative image of bunting in Northern Ireland, proving that it doesn't simply need to be about sporting tribal colours, but also about revamping old textiles through children’s creativity.

Event 12-3pm, Saturday 2nd April, Black Box, Hill Street, BELFAST. Entry is £2 per adult and FREE for children (all children must be accompanied by an adult) and you can learn more about the event via Facebook

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