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Goodyear workers stop off to help school pupils' love of reading with library bus

By Heather Large | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Young bookworms are receiving plenty of inspiration from their favourite characters thanks a new library bus provided by former Goodyear workers.

Former Goodyear worker Mick Stephenson and pupil Olivia Henry, aged 11, try out the new library bus

Featuring the likes of Harry Potter, the Hungry Caterpillar and the Gruffalo, the colourful double-decker has been handed over to children and staff at Bushbury Lane Primary Academy in Wolverhampton.

It has been funded with money from the 5/344 Transport and General Workers Union Benevolent Fund with former workers choosing to support the school because it stands in the shadow of the former tyre plant.

The red bus has been fitted out with comfortable seating and beanbags as well as shelving and book-inspired decorations, such as the names of popular authors, from J.K. Rowling to David Williams painted on the stairs, all aimed at creating a welcoming space for young readers.

Former Goodyear worker Mick Stephenson and pupils Yabsera Asefa, Tia Jackson, Olivia Henry, Lewis Agyeman, Kaydee Ellitts and Sophie Martin, next to the new library bus

New library books were also provided as part of the generous gift to add to the school's existing stocks for the 223 pupils on the roll.

Cyril Barrett, who worked at the tyre plant for almost 40 years, said they were delighted to make the donation which had cost just under £6,500.

"We have a long association with this school due to it being so close to Goodyear so we were only too happy to do this project.

"Children are our future so we want to do whatever we can to help their education and support their reading which hopefully this bus will help the school to do.

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"This is another project which we hope we go towards creating a living legacy to all those who worked at Goodyear," he added.

Former Goodyear workers Mark Jenkins, Mick Stephenson and Cyril Barrett, and pupils Yabsera Asefa, Tia Jackson, Olivia Henry, Lewis Agyeman, Kaydee Ellitts and Sophie Martin, try out the new library bus

Kate Benton, headteacher at Bushbury Lane Academy, which joined REAch2 Academy Trust in March last year, said: "One of our weakest areas is reading so we hope the bus will help to encourage a love of reading and get the children excited about books.

"It's going to have a massive impact and children will be able to use it in break time, lunch time, with their parents as well as in class time. We are very excited."

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Mr Barrett said he was keen to hear from other groups that believe they too could benefit from the fund.

To be considered for support, organisations must be registered charities. The group does not hand out cash donations but will instead purchase vital equipment or other items that will benefit their work.

Charities can send details of their project to heather.large@expressandstar.co.uk and details will be forwarded on to the group for consideration.

Heather Large

By Heather Large
Special projects reporter - @HeatherL_star

Senior reporter and part of the Express & Star special projects team specialising in education and human interest features.

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