Nominations Address: Management Office ,21 Wellington Street ,Wellington Square Shopping Centre ,Stockton-on-Tees Teesside, TS18 1NA 

Involved Partners: Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council – Landlord, Knight Frank – Managing Agent 

In April 2021 Castlegate Shopping Centre and Wellington Square in Stockton-on-Tees launched a community literacy project with two main purposes:  

  • To create a record of what the coronavirus pandemic has been like for children in the Teesside community.  
  • To raise money for reading charity Bookmark, to help children with their reading skills.  

Local children were encouraged to talk about their experiences over the past year and invited to write about them in order to help the children of the future to learn about the pandemic.  The centre team visited 4 schools and held a further 4 online assemblies to explain the project to over 1,000 children.  Over 600 fantastic stories, poems and pictures were received, from which the best 50 were chosen to be included in the ‘Stockton Stories’ book.  Once the book was published, a two-day launch event was held at the centres which provided a great opportunity for the whole community to come together, boosting the spirit of everyone in the town. The authors of the stories were invited to ‘Storybook Corner’ to read out loud for customers to enjoy. Each winner received a book token and certificate.
Some of the key results from the project are;  

  • Over £350 raised for Bookmark by selling over 150 copies (and still selling) 
  • 8 school partnerships built who will benefit from the support provided by Bookmark  
  • 50 children rewarded with book vouchers to encourage reading  
  • 3 schools rewarded with £100 worth of books  
  • £12,728 worth of media coverage including live radio coverage  
  • Talked to over 1,000 children in assemblies about the importance of reading and writing  
  • The book is now featured in nine libraries across the borough.  
  • Launch day footfall was up Castlegate +8% WOW/+4% YOY and Wellington +14% WOW/+5% YOY