2016: Prospero's Project Funds to Boost Reading Home & Away . . .
This year, funds that Prospero's Project raise will benefit two organizations, each with an aim to help children enjoy books.
Our local Alfriston Village School will use part of our funds to purchase books for classroom libraries. Teachers loan books to the students, to offer reading that isn't necessarily led by mundane schoolwork. We'll be helping add volumes to these depleted and slightly tired collections, helping bring new reading pleasures to the youngsters.
An orphanage and school in Uganda will also be benefitting. UK Friends of Healing Focus is the charity set up to support the facility in Busiiro Village, Uganda. The children there desperately need new textbooks to help their studies, and we are pleased to be helping!
What is Prospero's Project?
Prospero's Project is our fund-raising arm. Every year, we dedicate the money we raise to help literacy projects - and we choose a different project every year.
We make every stocking ourselves, using ragged old blankets. And we decorate each one with felt and other materials, creating unique stockings to hold gifts of good cheer.
Can You Help our Wooly Problem?
People often ask how they might be able to help Propsero's Project, and we very much appreciate it!
Besides buying stockings - and spreading the word about our them! – maybe you could help solve our wooly problem - finding enough old blankets!
We always need old, battered wool blankets that are too ragged to serve any more. We can 'felt' them (simply washing them in very hot water, to bind the wool a bit more closely) and then fashion them into the stockings we sell. We like both solid colours and patterns; the main thing is that they are 100% wool.
Do you enjoy crafting?
If you have a crafty side, you could participate in one of our stocking workshops, which also raise money. One of them is currently scheduled, but if it is popular we'll set up more. Participants get to decorate their own stockings, using felt and other materials we provide - click here to see our schedule of upcoming events, which includes workshops.
Do you run a reading project that could use some financial support?
We're already looking ahead to 2016. If you work to develop a love of reading (we define the remit pretty broadly) that might like to be considered for our fund-raising, please be in touch
2015 Stockings Raise £2,500 for Local Library Project
This year, we were thrilled to fund to a programme supporting local libraries as well as local children, filling shelves with books chosen by kids, for kids!
The East Sussex Library and Information Service coordinated the project, working with Year 7 pupils at Newhaven’s Seahaven Academy.
Every student in the year was asked to think about what other children their age would enjoy reading. They recommended a book that the library services have put on display in Newhaven and Seaford.
But that’s not all! Every student who participated got to take home a book of their own.
So the kids enjoyed choosing their own book, and also learn about choosing books with others in mind and exploring a wider range and different styles. And the libraries added some terrific new books to the collection that children all around the area will enjoy, time and again – books that will be all the more popular because they have been selected by peers.
On 15 March, the Newhaven Library welcomed a contingent of the children to unveil the books they chose. We were impressed with the range; from graphic novels to classics, like Call of the Wild, to recent bestsellers such as The Book Thief. It really seemed as if there would be something for anyone reading at the year 7 stage, whether enthusiastic readers or reluctant.
With a class of more than 100 students, the project was ambitious and challenging – and we hope the rewards will be tremendous. So we are excited that every stocking sold will help reach our goal of sharing a love of books and reading.
The project is a part of a larger effort to build partnerships between the newly-built local libraries and the communities they serve. “We’re really looking forward to working with the school and the pupils,” said Librarian Michele Brooker.
2014: £3,100 for Ugandan Orphange and Library
In 2014 Prospero's Project raised more than £3,100, which we dedicated to UK Friends of Healing Focus, supporting an orphanage and school in Busiiro village, Uganda.
In recent years, the charity has helped build new classrooms as well as a safehouse for girls; added secure cement floors; secured a year-round water supply; and helped fund salaries for teachers – and that's just a beginning!
With the funds raised by our stockings, the school has built new shelving and filled it with schoolbooks!
Learn more about the charity and the Healing Focus school by clicking here – we're sure you'll find it as inspiring as we did!
2013: Stocking Sales raise £2,300 for Kids' Company!
(See more stockings from our 2013 crop, on Flikr - click here!)
Working like Santa's elves, we sewed and decorated hundreds of Christmas stockings in 2013 – and we're thrilled that selling them raised funds for the extraordinary Kids Company, and a project of theirs set up to help youngsters discover the pleasures of reading!
Kids Company calls this project Flourish, and it aims to help children develop skills and self-reliance with support that may be lacking in their homes. A central part of this work includes encouraging children to discover books. Volunteers will read aloud to children, who can choose to keep books that enchant them.
We're really pleased to work with Kids Company, which enjoys a terrific reputation for doing excellent work under difficult conditions. Funds from selling our stockings will help them make Flourish a success, bringing books and the joy of reading to an audience that most needs it.
We are grateful to Kids Company for letting us help out; and even more grateful to everyone who bought one of our stockings. We love thinking about the stockings on Christmas morning, filled with treats; and we love thinking of Kids Company and the children they can help. So we are doubly lucky!
In 2012 . . .
From July through September, we offered customers a chance to direct Much Ado donations by voting for one of two charities with tokens earned through purchases in the shop.
Monso Chi Preschool is in Bahia Honda, a remote area in Cocas Del Toro, Panama. Alfristonian Margaret Ann helped set up the preschool to benefit indigineous children of the area. These children from the Ngobe tribe, have never had access to an early learning centre. Fortunately for them, Margaret and her husband Henry have an extraordianry drive - not only have they set up the school, but they are involved in various efforts to support the people living around the couple's La Loma Jungle Lodge. Such is their drive and energy that Lodge visitors have begun contributing both time and money, and we are delighted to offer our support to the school's drive to build a library for the children to enjoy.
Learn more about their project on the website of La Loma Jungle Lodge - which, by the way, looks like an incredibly cool place to stay, if you really want to get away from it all . . . And read up on the project with their blog.
The second charity was The Hillcrest Centre Cafe in Newhaven. Serving a diverse community that includes both young families and retired residents, the cafe is hoping to build a library for people to read and enjoy while taking advantage of the popular eatery.
So Far, So Good . . .
From April to June we supported Listening Books, a charity organisation that produces audio books, and West Rise School in Eastbourne, to whom we donated books for their library. Between button and cash donations we raised a total of £1426.87 for Listening Books and £920.88 for West Rise school.
We are chuffed to report that our Christmas drive raised more than £1,800 pounds from sales of Christmas stockings we made.
The money let us buy hundreds of books for the Alfriston Village School, where budget cuts have made it difficult for them to provide a rich variety of books for the children to enjoy.
We handed over the treasure-trove of books at a ceremony on 10 February 2012, with special guests author Ronda Armitage (The Lighthouse Keeper's series) and MP Norman Baker helping mark the occasion.
Some of the money came from Deans Place Hotel in Alfriston, which commissioned 55 small-sized stocking for their Christmas guests. Volunteers from the school’s FTPA helped make these, raising £220 towards the total.
We are grateful to everyone who purchased one of our stockings; one of our great pleasures on Christmas Eve is thinking about all the stockings we fashioned, filled with delightful presents waiting for somebody.
Handing over a wonderful selection of books for young readers is a further , inspiring delight; we are already making new stockings for next year . . .