Thursday, December 08, 2005

Christmas is coming, I'm slightly hungover from our staff drinks party last night, and preparing for the AGM next week. We have a fantastic board giving their time to support the work of Booktrust - and I'm not just saying that! Boards of trustees can be problematic groups, frustrating to be on and to report to - but this one is both encouraging and challenging; I'm truly grateful for their time, wisdom and energy. Kim Reynolds, our fantastic current chair, has written this introduction to the Annual Report.


2005 has been another dynamic year for Booktrust. The portfolio of established projects has been consolidated, and more recent initiatives have attracted exactly the kinds of partners and attention that characterize Booktrust at its best. The exciting Get London Reading scheme, for instance, has not only received funding from Creative London, an initiative of the London Development Agency, but is also growing through the support of major book organisations in the capital. The buzz around this event is growing weekly through the hard work and imaginative initiatives of the Booktrust team.

‘Buzzy’ would be a good way to describe the year for Booktrust. Book House is currently a hive of activity with lorries full of Bookstart materials being sent all over the country, and a host of events such as the Children’s Laureate launch, the National Short Story Prize, and the own-brand prizes such as the Booktrust Teenage Prize, all attracting enthusiastic and wide-ranging media coverage. Activity around National Children’s Book week has been building steadily, too. A detailed picture of Booktrust’s activities and services can be seen on the redesigned, reconceived, more substantial Booktrust web sites.

This has not just been a year for launching activities, but one of strategic re-evaluation and professional development. Several excellent new appointments for Bookstart and Booktrust are in place and contributing to the delivery of projects, fundraising, and very importantly, to planning for the future of the organisation. Some projects have been completed; others have been wound up to make way for fresh initiatives arising from contemporary needs and opportunities. The board, too, has had an injection of lively and talented new members via the Arts & Business GAIN scheme. With secure funding and an appropriate range of projects, it has been possible to invest time and training in staff at all levels, strengthening the knowledge base and commitment of all those who work at Booktrust.

These changes have come about through detailed and creative leadership; the resulting high regard in which Booktrust currently stands has been recognised through increased funding and approaches from significant new partners. Partnerships can sometimes be unequal, but the internal strength of the organisation and its increasing clarity of objectives mean that Booktrust is able to ensure that such partnerships are firmly rooted in the ‘Booktrusted’ ethos.

Having reached this stage in the planned development of Booktrust, a rebranding exercise has commenced which will raise the profile of Booktrust itself, alongside its many important projects. The coming year seems set to hear the buzz become a roar!

My thanks go to the Director and his staff, the members of the Board, and especially my predecessor, Trevor Glover, who stepped in at several crucial moments, and to all our collaborators and supporters who have contributed to this most successful period in the history of Booktrust.

Kimberley Reynolds

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