With an ever-expanding pupil roll and no dedicated library space across the school, Kate Bell – Literacy Lead at Gray’s Farm Academy in Orpington – truly had her work cut out for her. In spring 2022, Kate enlisted the help of the School Reading Champions and reached out to ABC Book Club via local football team, Cray Wanderers FC.
The ABC team took one look at the proposed library space, originally earmarked for an SLT office, and knew that with some teamwork and community support they could give the pupils at this lovely school a library they could be proud of. The bland but spacious room was set to become a botanical wonderland, but the team needed to act fast if it was going to be complete before the summer holiday! ABC Operations Manager, Jo Chandler, and a flurry of local businesses set to work redecorating the room and assembling bookcases, ready to hold the mountain of books Cray Wanderers had already started to collect.
In what was probably the fastest project turnaround in ABC history, the room was transformed into a beautiful library, with a fabulous tree bookshelf festooned with fairy lights and woodland themed bunting. Kate’s announcement of the new library, which had been kept a secret for weeks, saw an enormous cheer bellow throughout the school corridors and the children wasted no time making themselves comfortable on the cushions and grassy rug. As well as running book drives from their clubhouse in Sidcup and collecting almost all of the donated books in the library, Cray Wanderers also kindly gifted a selection of brand new inclusive and diverse books, which proved to be a huge hit!