Brio helps young visitors exercise their minds16 Jun

Brio helps young visitors exercise their minds

A new partnership to encourage young children and parents to read together has been launched at Frodsham Leisure Centre.

Brio Leisure, the community interest company behind some of the most popular sports and leisure centres in Cheshire West, is working alongside the Cheshire West and Chester Library Service, Children’s Centres, Health Services and UK charity Booktrust, to help develop the a love of reading .

A Bookstart party for parents of babies and toddlers took place at the centre on Monday to coincide with National Bookstart Week.

Bookstart is a national programme that encourages all parents and carers to enjoy books with their children from as early an age as possible.

Bookstart aims to provide a free pack of books to every baby in the UK, to inspire, stimulate and create a love of reading that will give children a flying start in life.

Lesley Finnigan, Brio’s Facility Group Manager, said: “Brio is known for helping people of every age improve their health, fitness and confidence levels through exercise but we also realise how important it is to form partnerships which help the community.

“As a leisure centre at the hub of the town we’re delighted to be working with other community-focused services. This enables local residents to access the many opportunities available as easily as possible.

Clare Ashbee, Children and Young People’s Specialist for Cheshire West and Chester  Libraries said initiatives such as Bookstart and The Summer Reading Challenge are part of Cheshire West and Chester’s plans to get families reading together.

“Children who read with their parents or carers or who read for pleasure by themselves have better life chances. That’s why we are working with organisations such as Brio Leisure, Booktrust and other professionals, such as health visitors, to ensure that parents know about the support and opportunities available across Cheshire West and Chester.

“As part of a child’s regular health checks, health visitors talk to parents about the benefits of reading with their child and gift their first Bookstart pack. Another book pack will gifted before a child goes to school or nursery at an age between three and four years. Brio’s Frodsham Centre is also home to a library and next door to the town’s medical centre. This accessibility to facilities really helps,” she added.

Weaver Vale MP Graham Evans who attended the Bookstart Week launch party, said: “As a father of three I’ve always read with my children and enjoyed seeing the benefits they get from that. There is no better start in life that we can give our children than encouraging their reading skills and developing their imaginations. And if you can match this with support on nutrition and health then we are helping mind, body and soul.”

Following the success of this event, Brio is also encouraging parents to join in with the Cheshire West and Chester Libraries Summer Reading Challenge through free weekly activities. This year the Summer Reading Challenge is called ‘Mythical Maze’ and the myth theme designed to inspire young people’s imaginations. All children can join in the fun at any Cheshire West and Chester Library by choosing six library books to read over the summer. Children can also collect stickers and gifts as they read. The promotion runs between July 12th and September 13th. Those who complete the challenge will be invited to attend a special award ceremony to receive a medal and certificate.

Weaver Vale MP Graham Evans “The Summer Reading Challenge is a fabulous way of encouraging our younger members of the community to develop. The fact that they can explore reading in surroundings which also provide additional opportunities to exercise and have fun is a bonus.”

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