During the year, Bloomsbury UK provided financial support to humanitarian appeals and charitable causes across the globe, including:
Bloomsbury India continued its support of local community organisations by making donations to four charities supporting vulnerable, marginalised and deprived groups: The Prayas Juvenile Aid Centre Society, a community-based non-profit service, which supports marginalised and vulnerable groups including women, youth and homeless people (£3,000); the Mijwan Welfare Society, which supports the development of equitable and sustainable communities across rural India by equipping rural citizens with the tools to catalyse change within their own communities (£3,000); the Akshaya Patra Foundation, which strives to eliminate classroom hunger by serving nutritious food to disadvantaged children studying in Government schools and Government-aided schools across India (£2,000); and the Salaam Baalak Trust, which provides care and protection to street children through child-centric programmes (£2,000).
Bloomsbury has also continued to contribute a portion of its proceeds from sales of the Dishoom cookbook by Kavi Thakrar, Naved Masir and Shamil Thakrar to charities providing healthy school meals to hungry and malnourished children in disadvantaged areas of the UK and India, donating the sum of £3,949 to each of the Akshaya Patra Foundation in India and Magic Breakfast in the UK during the year.
During the year, Bloomsbury also continued to support initiatives aligned with its mission and purpose by making financial and in-kind contributions to organisations working to increase access to books and education and enrich lives through reading and literacy, and to initiatives aimed at supporting authors and illustrators from diverse backgrounds.
Bloomsbury’s ongoing partnership with the National Literacy Trust (“NLT”) saw a continuation of our support of the NLT’s work to give children and young people from disadvantaged communities the literacy skills to succeed in life. This included a £50,000 cash donation and the donation of 1,000 books with a wholesale value of £32,475. See pages 77 and 79 for more information on our partnership with the NLT.
In Australia, Bloomsbury continued its support of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) with a donation of £3,388. The ILF works to address the educational disadvantages faced by indigenous Australian children and young people in remote Communities across Australia. Donations of £3,105 and £3,388 were made respectively to Story Factory, a creative writing centre for underprivileged young people, and The Smith Family’s Literacy and Learning for Life educational programmes, which provide emotional, practical and financial support as well as books and resources to support disadvantaged children and young people with their literacy and education.
As part of our ongoing relationship with The Black Writers’ Guild in the UK, we donated £10,000 in support of the Guild’s work to tackle the underrepresentation of Black authors and publishing professionals within the publishing industry.
During 2022/2023, Bloomsbury sponsored The Rock Retreat Gibraltar, a non-profit creative residency for emerging writers and artists focused on books for young readers with a contribution of £1,000. The aim of the Rock Retreat is to equip participants with the motivation, skills, information and networks that they might otherwise not have the opportunity to develop or gain access to. Through the support of sponsors, The Rock Retreat is able to offer fully funded places to attend this career-building retreat. Bloomsbury further sponsored the Accord Literary Creative Retreat (ALCR) in Accra, a collaboration between The Rock Retreat and Accord Literary, a Ghana-based literary agency that aims to mentor, develop and encourage writers based in Africa writing books for young readers, with a contribution of £2,500. Through sponsorship, the ALCR was able to offer fully sponsored places to creators from sub-Saharan Africa.
Bloomsbury contributed £3,000 in support of OpenBooks, a joint initiative between the Publishers Association, the Booksellers Association and the Association of Authors Agents in the UK targeted at 14–19 year olds from underrepresented backgrounds with the aim of providing insights into, and demystifying, the book industry and publishing career options through free, online events.
Donations of £10,000 were made to each of the Charleston Literary Festival and The London Library. The Charleston Festival provides attendees with the opportunity to engage with books and illuminating ideas through a programme of talks, conversations and performances.
The London Library is one of the world’s leading literary institutions and lending libraries, housing a collection of over one million books, and hosts regular literary events throughout the year as well as an annual Literature Festival. The Library offers an Emerging Writers Programme open to anyone over the age of 16, which provides one year’s free membership of the Library and includes writing development masterclasses, literary networking opportunities, peer support and guidance in use of the Library’s resources. Bloomsbury’s donation has been applied by the Library to support five writers as part of this programme.
We recognise that not everyone in society has equal access to books, and we work with various organisations to reach people and communities who may not otherwise have the means or opportunity to enjoy the benefits which reading brings.
During the year, the Group donated books with a total wholesale value of £1,860,198 to multiple organisations promoting literacy and early education. These include:
Freedom of expression is a prerequisite for a thriving publishing industry, which, in turn, plays an essential role in a democratic, knowledge-based society by promoting diversity of knowledge and ideas and fostering creativity and tolerance. During the year, Bloomsbury donated £12,500 to each of PEN America and the American Civil Liberties Union to support their work in defence of freedom of expression and civil liberties in a time when increasingly polarised views on political and cultural issues are leading to rising assaults on freedom of expression, including attempts to ban books in schools, libraries and bookshops.
In addition to providing financial assistance to organisations which promote literature, literacy and education, we provide practical, non-financial assistance. The following examples of our activities in 2022/2023 illustrate the range of Bloomsbury’s support.
In 2022/2023, Bloomsbury entered into the fourth year of its partnership with the NLT, continuing with the mission of supporting the NLT in its efforts to overcome literacy challenges facing the residents of Hastings. During our partnership, Bloomsbury has donated over 80,000 books to schools, libraries, food banks and community centres in cooperation with the NLT.
Hastings is characterised by deprivation and intergenerational low literacy. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds in Hastings are less likely to read regularly than their more affluent peers and this is likely caused by children not having enough positive reading experiences.
The focus of activity for Bloomsbury and the NLT is to create a number of experiences to engage children to make reading fun and entraining and improve attitudes towards writing and reading for pleasure. During its partnership with the NLT, Bloomsbury has developed and supported a range of activities including organising author events and creative writing competitions for children, and has donated over 80,000 books to schools, libraries, food banks and community centres in cooperation with the NLT.
In 2022, Bloomsbury Children’s celebrated the 25th anniversary of World Book Day (WBD) with two books in the £1 promotion: The Worst Class in the World in Danger by Joanna Nadin and Rikin Parekh and The Last Word by Ben Bailey Smith. These authors took part in four live digital events and masterclasses, as well as two major multi-school events at Stratford Libraries and Discover Children’s Story Centre. Ben Bailey Smith also appeared on CBBC Book Club answering viewers’ questions.
Bloomsbury Education took part in WBD online giveaways and made five of their Bloomsbury Young Reader audiobooks available for free on the WBD website. Royal Mail unveiled four special post boxes for WBD, three of which featured Bloomsbury books. On top of all this, Bloomsbury Children’s and Education authors reached thousands of school children through WBD events all over the UK.
As the 25th anniversary coincided with the same anniversary for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, each one of the 15.1 million WBD vouchers distributed to schools featured a competition to win a magical family visit to London. The competition was supported by Harry Potter franchise partners including Warner Bros. Studio Tour, the producers of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Harry Potter Photographic Competition, J. K. Rowling Originals and Wizarding World Digital – with a combined reach of over three million.
Bloomsbury’s Children’s and Education teams work with EmpathyLab, the first organisation to build children’s empathy, literacy and social activism through a systematic use of highquality literature. EmpathyLab’s strategy builds on new scientific evidence showing the effectiveness of reading in building real-life empathy skills. Working closely with this charity and our authors, we ensure that our books support this important mission.
Bloomsbury Education also works with the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) to create and promote free online teaching notes for our guided reading series, Bloomsbury Readers. The CLPE is an independent UK charity dedicated to raising the literacy achievement of children.
Our Children’s team publishes books in partnership with three leading UK charities whose key focus is nature conservation and wildlife: the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and The Woodland Trust. These partnerships involve the publication of titles by Bloomsbury that support the activities of these charities, and embed their public mission statements into the commercial world of bookselling, reaching far beyond their membership pool with titles across all age groups from three years upwards. We are experts at commissioning high profile authors with excellent credentials to work alongside charities we support.
Bloomsbury’s Non-Consumer Division also publishes in partnership with the RSPB, with the Special Interest division publishing the popular RSPB Spotlight series, including two titles in 2022/2023: RSPB Handbook of Garden Wildlife: 3rd edition and RSPB Pocket Guide to British Birds. The Philip Wilson imprint publishes in association with MK Gallery, The Wallace Collection, The National Trust and The George Daniels Educational Trust.
The charities which Bloomsbury partners with in this way are supported by royalty payments made by Bloomsbury in connection with sales of the relevant books.
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Annual General Meeting
Preliminary announcement for the year ended 29 February 2024