Reading chair plans for Wisbech Market Place

A reading chair will be installed in Wisbech town centre in a bid to encourage more families to share a story.

Wisbech Reads hopes to install a bespoke chair and book locker in the Market Place during the summer.

The five-year project, made up of town primary and secondary schools, aims to promote reading among families.

One of the people behind the plan is Peckover School principal Carrie Norman, who is hoping to create more reading chair installations across the town.

She said: “The reading chair is to highlight reading in everyday lives.

“It would be lovely if families have an ice-cream and share a book in the middle of the day.

“Some people may not go to the library but this would be somewhere really central. It would be fantastic if people walked past and then sat down to enjoy books.”

Wisbech Reads will be applying to the Arts Council for a grant but has also received funding from Nestle Purina and Cambridgeshire County Council.

The project is hoping to create the locker and chair in the form of a “reading tree”.

Along with being stocked with children’s books, the reading tree will also include magazines and newspapers for adults.

Mrs Norman said: “As a headteacher, I believe it is so important to read to children.

“I don’t want reading for pleasure to disappear.”

Wisbech Town Council, which also funds the project, supported the plan following a detailed presentation by Mrs Norman.

Councillors will be asking the people behind the £2 million Lottery grant to improve the town centre to look at the reading chair.

Speaking at the meeting on Monday last week Cllr Alan Lay said: “When I was a child my parents read to me and when I first become a parent I read to my child. She’s done well.

“I have found that if children have a bad upbringing that’s the worst start in life they can ever have.”

Cllr Steve Tierney said Wisbech Reads was a “fantastic project” and asked about technology.

Cllr Robert McLaren asked about standards of literacy in the town.

Mayor David Hodgson added: “The thing I find encouraging is that you are encouraging them to read books and not all those iPads.”