The ABC Book Club team loves a challenge, so when we were approached for design advice from this underfunded primary school, we knew we could help create something special.
David McBride, a teacher at St Augustine of Canterbury School in Belvedere, had already secured a grant from The Foyle Foundation to support literacy within the school. David’s hope was to create a magical reading space where their redundant IT suite had once lived, and after hearing about ABC through local estate agent Acorn, he got in touch in late 2021.
The room was full of computers and desks, but with an original wood floor and enormous windows letting in cascades of natural light, the scope to create an escape for the children to enter a world of reading was an exciting possibility. Armed with theme and design ideas from the passionate School Parliament, the 2022 school summer break saw ABC create an outdoor adventure themed space with a mountain camp hideaway, reading tent and cosy campfire!
The school purchased an incredible selection of diverse and inclusive texts with part of the grant secured from Foyles. Intertwined with the pre-loved books donated by ABC, the shelves were packed with literature to tempt even the most reluctant of readers.
In a truly collaborative effort, over £1,000 was raised by three plucky Acorn employees, who took part in a charity skydive and contributed their donations to this project.
Local MP for Erith and Thamesmead, Abena Oppong-Asare, officially opened the library – affectionately named ‘Camp St Augustine’ by pupils – in September 2022. The library was kept a complete surprise - none of the pupils or the Head Teacher had peeked inside - so when the ribbon was cut, it was a revelation for all!
Every mountain campsite needs a mascot and Camp St Augustine has its very own mountain bear which, after a story building session on launch day, the pupils have named Sausage! Long-time friend of the charity, Vanessa from London Dreamtime, was enlisted to run story building workshops with all age groups to create one final story inspired by their new library space.