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Police Sergeant John Livingstone, Brooklyn Hunter, Luke Vincent, Hayden Huckerby, Travis Scott, Bobby Hunter, Lewis Buller and Alison Hernandez with some of the People’s Friend Pocket Novels that were donated

Pupils go to jail... to donate books!

The visit was part of Plympton Academy's newly launched  community literacy project

Posted by Hannah Vickers | March 09, 2017 | School life

Students and staff from Plympton Academy visited Plymouth’s Charles Cross Police Station and donated books for people to read when in custody, including a large quantity of the People’s Friend Pocket Novels.

The idea came about after a Plympton Academy teacher heard a report on Radio 4 about a PCSO who organised to have books available at his local police station.

“The project, and the results it achieved, were very inspiring,” said Martin Edmonds, Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator. The school then went on to get the support of local MP, Oliver Colvile and permission from Alison Hernandez, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall.

“It is vitally important that we all work to build support for basic literacy skills and encourage a love of reading,” said Martin Edmonds. “Our students have supported this project with great enthusiasm and I hope it will be just the start. 

“Staff at DC Thomson publishers have also supported us by donating the People’s Friend Pocket Novels. These handy sized, but larger print, books have accessible and exciting story lines and are ideal for community literacy projects.”

It must be horrible to have to stay in one of those cells for hours, just waiting. At least people can now have something to read - Luke Vincent, Year 9 student at Plympton Academy

Year 9 student, Luke Vincent said, “It must be horrible to have to stay in one of those cells for hours, just waiting. At least people can now have something to read.”

Fellow Year 9 student, Brooklyn Hunter explained how they chose the books. “We tried to choose something for everybody; there are adventure books, sports books, poetry and autobiographies from Suarez and Malala.”  

The students were given a tour of Charles Cross by Police Sergeant John Livingstone. He showed them around the custody rooms and introduced them to the health, and mental health, workers based at the police station. “The students really enjoyed their visit and asked lots of interesting questions. The books they have donated will certainly be well received and well used,” he said.

Vice Principal of Plympton Academy, Kasim Langmead explained why the school wanted to get involved. “The school is working to support and embed literacy strategies across the city to help raise the profile of reading. The students chose classics by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and HG Wells as well as more recent books by Andy McNab and Antony Horowitz.”  

Alison Hernandez, the elected Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, who welcomed the students said, “My aim is to have excellent policing and wider public services in Plymouth to help us all build resilient self-supporting communities. We can all play our part in keeping each other safe and supported and I am delighted to be working with these young people to help boost a love of reading in this way.”

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