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Libraries see record number of babies

They may not be able to read but a new initiative encourages the very youngest to join the library by offering automatic membership as part of birth registration.



More families than ever before have registered their new baby with the West Sussex library service.

This is thanks to an initiative which encourages the very youngest in the county to join the library by automatically offering membership to babies as part of birth registration appointments.

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On average 8,700 births are registered each year in West Sussex. Of this, 7,500 (86%) opted to join the library service this year compared with 6,000 (69%) the year before.

Special sessions of ‘rhyme time’ are planned in June to welcome children to the library and celebrate the benefits of sharing books, stories and rhymes from as early an age as possible.

This forms part of the Booktrust’s National Bookstart Week which runs until June 10.

A full list of events can be found here:

Debbie Kennard, Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said:

“Our libraries are such great spaces, bringing together people of all ages and allowing them to thrive in a safe environment. I’m so excited to see the numbers of our very youngest libraries users has gone up at the very start of this year.

“I hope this could mark the start of a lifelong love of reading!

“As well as supporting your child’s development and helping prepare them for school, libraries are also an excellent way for parents to connect and access useful resources.

“I would really encourage families come to one of the special rhyme time events.”

Every baby is entitled to a Bookstart baby pack containing baby books, a rhyme sheet and information for parents and carers about sharing stories and rhymes with babies. This is usually given by a health visitors at 6 to 8 weeks of age or is also available in local libraries.

Bookstart is a national programme run by Booktrust to introduce children to books as early as possible.

BookTrust is the largest children’s reading charity in the country.

Learn more about free Bookstart packs for children and babies here:

The county council is passionate about the vital role played by our library and children and family services in providing shared spaces for local people to thrive – by providing access to information, places to connect with others, opportunities to learn new skills and ways in which to build confidence and community resilience.

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Northgate, Crawley dance school shortlisted for ‘People’s Choice’ award



Some of the schools dancers receiving effort awards for online dancing during Lockdown.

A local dance school based in Northgate, Crawley has been shortlisted for the ‘People’s Choice’ Award 2020.

The Louise Ryrie School of Dance & Drama received the nomination from One Dance UK.

Speaking to Crawley News 24 about the nomination the principal Louise said:

“Our dance school based locally in Northgate Crawley has been shortlisted for the ‘People’s Choice’ Award 2020 by One Dance UK. Link attached below, where you can read our nomination. 

We’re so honoured to receive this nomination. We love and care for all our dancers as individuals, as well as training them to a high standard whether they want to pursue a career in the dance industry, or dance as a hobby.

Now the school needs all the towns support to vote for them ahead of the 27th September deadline.

You can place make your vote by clicking here.

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