Engagement outside Bloomsbury

Our Communities

During 2021/2022, the Group donated £328,911 to charitable initiatives, and made donations of books with a cost value of £247,296.

Corporate donations

In the UK, we supported specialist literary charities Book Aid International with a £50,000 cash donation and a donation of 5,348 books. We also donated £50,000 to the National Literacy Trust to support the valuable work it does to support schools and communities to give disadvantaged children essential literacy skills. We gave £10,000 to the Charleston Literary Festival, £1,000 to the ARU Foundation, which aims to provide financing to advance the education of students attending Anglia Ruskin University, £3,000 to the Booksellers Association, £9,998.33 to Reforest’Action, £10,000 to the David Nott Foundation, and £19,200 to the Woodland Trust. Bloomsbury’s work with the Woodland Trust saw us sponsoring a grove in a World War I centenary wood near Epsom in Surrey, where the trees are maintained thanks to our donation. Ancient woodlands now only cover 2.5% of the UK and their protection is vital to our ecosystem.

Donations were also made to Magic Breakfast and The Akshaya Patra Foundation to provide healthy food to disadvantaged children as detailed below.

Bloomsbury’s ongoing partnership with the NLT saw a continuation of our work in disadvantaged communities in Hastings, where one in three people have low literacy levels. The NLT’s missions and values are aligned with Bloomsbury, seeking to inspire a lifelong love of reading and build a culture of enquiring minds which benefits society. To date, we have donated over 80,000 books to the Hastings area and reached 4,049 schools and schoolchildren through live author events in 2021/2022. We donated adult books to Hasting’s community libraries and food banks for International Literacy Day in September 2021. Our Children’s team continue to work closely with the NLT on Harry Potter Book Night, donating 800 copies of Harry Potter titles in 2021/2022.

Our support of the Booksellers Association’s Books Are My Bag campaign and Bookshop Day with a donation of £3,000 was a crucial part of building back the confidence of high street bookselling, and promoting the joys of bookshops to consumers after a bruising year and a half. Having weathered the COVID-19 storms, bookshops were ready for a celebration and October was the ideal moment for the campaign to get the word out about the value of books, reading, authors and bookshops. Books Are My Bag is a truly trade-wide initiative, recognised across publishing and by customers.

In Australia, we supported the work of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) by matching donations made by staff in our Sydney office. Only one in four children living in indigenous communities in Australia can read at an accepted level. The ILF seeks to invest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander remote communities to provide the tools and resources they request to shape the direction of their children’s literacy future. Bloomsbury’s support contributed to a donation of 99,000 books to remote communities in 2021, support of 83 playgroups for toddlers and their families, and 40 books published in 11 different indigenous languages.

The Group made its largest donation to Indian charities to date in 2021/2022. This included £4,025 given to multiple charities supporting those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to match donations made by Bloomsbury employees. In addition, Bloomsbury donated £5,000 to each of the following organisations: the Salaam Baalak Trust, which provides care and protection to street children in Delhi; the Prayas Foundation, helping those living in poverty; innovative learning organisation Pratham; Helpage India, which supports disadvantaged elderly people; Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, a leader in child protection; and the Sulabh Hope Foundation, supporting widows. The Company made donations of £10,000 to each of the families of Indian colleagues who sadly passed away due to COVID-19.

A donation of £15,000 was made to the Akshaya Patra Foundation in support of the charity’s mission to serve wholesome food to disadvantaged children every school day to over 1.8 million children from over 19,000 schools across 14 states in India. Bloomsbury’s donation supported the Foundation’s COVID-19 relief programme, in which they delivered 2727 “happiness kits” directly to students and their families while schools remained closed. The kits included much-needed food, educational materials and hygiene items.

has also continued to contribute a portion of its proceeds from sales of the Dishoom cookbook by Kavi Thakrar, Naved Nasir and Shamil Thakrar to the Akshaya Patra Foundation in India and to Magic Breakfast in the UK. Both these charities provide healthy school meals to hungry and malnourished children in disadvantaged areas of the UK and India. In 2021/2022, we funded 108,000 meals.

During the year, our US office donated £1,343.65 to the Food Bank of New York and £4,511.28 to the National Coalition Against Censorship, for whom we are a corporate sponsor for their annual fundraising event. Our support of literary charities included a donation of £7,382 to the Children’s Book Council and £3,836.74 to the National Book Foundation. We also supported We Need Diverse Books, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, who supported independent bookshops during COVID-19, and the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Fête.

Our US office has also continued its long-standing partnership with the SOHO Center, through which we have donated over 1.7 million books to date. With our donation of 179,032 books in 2021/2022, the SOHO Center reached over 200,000 disadvantage children and their families across Virginia. The books were donated to schools, libraries, domestic violence and homeless shelters, foster care and hospitals.

We have been pleased to support Bloomsbury author Khaled Hosseini’s foundation, which provides vital humanitarian aid in Afghanistan. More than 50% of the population in Afghanistan is facing extreme hunger, with nine million people at risk of famine, due to a combination of factors including the current political situation, climate change and COVID-19. Bloomsbury’s donation of £50,000 helped the Khaled Hosseini Foundation provide vital support to Afghan families who are in desperate need, in collaboration with various charities working in the country.

Developing partnerships with impact

Our publishers seek to promote the enjoyment of reading and high-quality literature that is often cutting edge and provides new authors with opportunities to establish themselves. In addition to our direct commercial activities and with a focus mainly on promoting literature, literacy and education, we actively support numerous organisations worldwide, including schools, universities, libraries and charities. We also encourage the spare time involvement of staff worldwide in the promotion of literature, literacy and education. These voluntary activities by employees are often directly or indirectly assisted by the business and by Bloomsbury colleagues. The following examples illustrate the range of Bloomsbury’s support.

Working with the NLT in Hastings

In 2021/2022, Bloomsbury entered into the third 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 entertaining and improve attitudes towards writing and reading for pleasure. A range of activities were developed and supported by Bloomsbury during 2021/2022, including the “drop everything and read” campaign to encourage everyone to take ten minutes to read and a series of four pirate/sea-themed virtual events, with three featuring Bloomsbury authors Laura James, Caryl Hart and Bethan Woollvin. The events were offered to all schools in Hastings to watch from the classroom and were available for viewing for a week after the events, helping inspire children to read for pleasure into the summer holidays. To celebrate the launch of Harry Potter: A Magical Year, featuring illustrations by Jim Kay in October 2021, a creative writing competition was launched to encourage children to illustrate and describe their favourite scene from the Harry Potter books in order to win a copy of the book. On International Literacy Day 2021, Bloomsbury supplied both Hastings Library and Hastings Voluntary Action with free books suitable for adults to support adult learning. Books featured stickers pointing readers to the NLT website where they could find information on accessing literacy support.

World Book Day 2021

Bloomsbury’s World Book Day (“WBD”) author in 2021 was Katherine Rundell, whose middle grade novel Skysteppers was one of the books included in WBD’s annual £1 promotion. Events included a virtual launch event with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, Katherine Rundell and other WBD authors joining the children of Acklam Whin School for a morning of celebration. Katherine appeared alongside fellow Bloomsbury author Ben Bailey Smith on a BBC Live Lessons event and joined Share a Story Live, which had over 15,000 live online views.

Bloomsbury also took part in WBD’s The Power of Books teen and young adult research project with an event featuring Bloomsbury authors Melissa Cummings-Quarry and Natalie A. Carter, authors of Grown: The Black Girls’ Guide to Glowing Up. The project explored how young people today feel about reading in relation to future plans and success, stress, anxiety and mental health.

Harry Potter Book Night 2022

On 3 February 2022, we enjoyed a truly global Harry Potter Book Night, with fans joining us from 139 territories across six continents. In partnership with the NLT, we hosted over 26,000 children at a magical draw-along event with Harry Potter illustrator Jonny Duddle. This year’s Book Night theme was Magical Journeys and we created an event kit bursting with party tips, enchanting games, bewitching activities, crafts, recipes, costumes, quizzes and easy-tomake design ideas for fans’ favourite modes of transport inspired by the Harry Potter stories, such as the Hogwart’s Express, broomsticks, or maybe even a Thestral.

Ahead of Harry Potter Book Night, 18,000 event kits were downloaded and registrations in the UK were up by 28% on 2021. The week before, an estimated 120,000 children were using resources downloaded from Twinkl.co.uk.

As part of Harry Potter Book Night, Bloomsbury and the NLT also partnered to launch a series of events and resources to invite schools across the UK to join the magic of Harry Potter. These included a live event with Jonny Duddle, the illustrator of the Harry Potter 2014 book covers and this year’s silver anniversary edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the Miles of Magic Reading Challenge, and the Harry Potter Book Relay to encourage children to read for pleasure and develop their reading stamina.

Guiding the next generation

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 high-quality 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.

Partnership publishing

Our Children’s team publishes books in partnership with three leading UK charities whose key focus is nature conservation and wildlife: the 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 Special Interest publishing the popular RSBP Spotlight series, including four titles in 2021/2022: Woodland Birds, Caterpillars, Seals and Crows. The Philip Wilson imprint leads further collaboration in this area, publishing in association with MK Gallery, The Wallace Collection, The National Trust and The George Daniels Educational Trust.

Writers & Artists

Bloomsbury’s Writers & Artists community (www.writersandartists.co.uk) offers up to £4,000 of financial assistance as part of its accessibility scheme, ensuring that opportunities are available to underrepresented and low-income writers and illustrators. The role of Writers & Artists (“W&A”) is to put aspiring authors and illustrators in touch with the publishing industry – offering practical, impartial guidance – as well as working with established authors to offer advice on the creative process. The W&A website makes hundreds of advice articles on the writing and publishing process available for free, and features a range of editing services, events and writing courses. In 2021/2022, 24 writers benefited from their accessibility scheme: 16 writers attended evening masterclasses, four attended multi-week courses, three received a Full Manuscript Review, and one writer received a one-to-one meeting with a literary agent to discuss their manuscript submission documents. This accessibili y scheme will be repeated in 2022.

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