Photo of Dawn Fletcher

Dawn Fletcher

Dawn Fletcher has been nominated by Inspiring Women Changemakers member, Josie Armitage. Josie says “Dawn set up Bramley Look for a Book for children and adults in August this year after seeing a news article about similar activity set up by a teacher in Lincolnshire.  Dawn decided that “Bramley could do with something like this to help bring the community closer. You hear a lot about mental health. Reading is something so simple and helps to block out the real world and rest your mind properly.  Let’s all read a bit more.  Our activity also helps with recycling used books.”

Dawn started to hide the books herself but now has a team of volunteer helpers – both children and adults – who are hiding books throughout Bramley and collecting donations from local businesses and schools.  Dawn started to add special extras such as tea/coffee and biscuits with the adult books and hot chocolate with the children’s books to enrich the bedtime story experience for families.  Soft toys are also added with the children’s books when kindly donated by local people.  Everything is reliant on the goodwill and generosity of local people.”

Who has she helped/ who will she help?

“Dawn has hidden around 1000 books so far although her partner estimates it is nearer 1500! All the books have been found and most have been re-hidden many times. She set up a Facebook group which is growing rapidly with almost 1,000 members. Bramley residents are invited to join the Facebook group so they can celebrate and share their finds and the enjoyment they and their children are having reading books together.  Dawn asks that when people find the books, they post their finds with a photo on the Facebook page for all to share.

What’s worked?

“Bramley Look for a Book provides books for both children and adults.  Dawn says “Adults don’t read as much as they used to.  To make it a treat for adults, I add coffee/tea and a biscuit with the book.  Adults can make this a ‘me time’, open their new book with a cup of coffee and a biscuit and get the chance to read it.”

Local people are now hiding and re hiding books. Some local schools such as Park Spring Primary have been getting involved.  The teachers worked with the children to bag up and hide books that they do not use any more.  They donated over 160 books which the children have hidden in the local area for children to find and share at home before re-hiding.”

What has she learnt? Any challenges?

“Dawn has learnt that there is a real enjoyment for children, adults and families finding books and re-engaging in reading to bring them together and the community spirit that this is developing.

Early challenges were: It took some time for other people to get involved in hiding books or posting where they have hidden books and their finds in the Facebook group.

Dawn recently hurt her ankle so couldn’t go out of the house to hide any books.  She put out a call for help and people stepped in to hide books while Dawn got back on her feet.”

What’s next?

“Bramley Look for a Book is growing in popularity each day with the numbers of people hiding and finding books increasing and interest shown from outside the Bramley area.  Dawn wants to keep this group local but encourages other areas to set up their own Look for a Book so their communities can enjoy the fun of finding books, the enjoyment of reading books as children, adults and families and spreading the joy of this within their communities.”

What advice, contacts or resources would help her?

“Dawn needs to raise money to pay for the essentials such as zip lock bags to put the books in, paper and ink for printing the messages that go with the books and providing the tea/coffee, biscuits and hot chocolate.  She needs help with fundraising. Currently this is done through direct requests for donations and holding raffles.”

Why we’re sharing these stories

An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in the North!