By Cllr Greg Peck
Norfolk’s libraries may be closed, but that isn’t stopping the return of the Summer Reading Challenge, which for 2020 is all about funny books, happiness and having a laugh.
With the disruption caused by Covid-19 and the impact of social distancing on schools and public libraries, this year’s challenge has launched as a digital activity to keep children reading over the summer and help prevent the summer reading “dip”.
The theme for this year’s challenge is the “Silly Squad”, a team of animal friends who love to go on adventures and get stuck in to all different kinds of funny books. It features bespoke artwork from award-winning children’s author and illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson.
Digital devices for Norfolk pupils
Meanwhile, 1,800 laptops are being provided for Norfolk pupils as part of the government’s scheme to support young people to learn remotely during the pandemic and help tackle digital exclusion.
Laptops and tablets are being provided for disadvantaged families, children and young people who do not currently have access to them through another source, such as their school.
To ensure the support goes to children who need it most, Norfolk County Council is following the government’s guidelines and is working with schools and specialist providers to identify those eligible.
Devices will be distributed over the coming days and weeks. All laptops will be delivered in a “good-to-go” state, so they can be used as soon as they are taken out of the box.
Adult learners’ study is ongoing through lockdown to enable learners to continue their courses, online – boosting their well-being and easing their isolation.
Within two weeks of lockdown starting, Norfolk County Council’s Adult Learning service ensured that all its 1,257 current learners were moved onto online classes; there are now 2,935 people learning online across the county.
Loneliness does not discriminate, so a new befriending service has been launched during Loneliness Awareness Week to combat isolation and loneliness in Norfolk.
In partnership with Norfolk County Council, Voluntary Norfolk has recruited 3,500 befrienders.
This army of volunteers has been recruited from those who came forward during the coronavirus pandemic. They will help people, who, for a variety of reasons, would benefit from social contact.
Residents can ask for support with loneliness and isolation by contacting Norfolk County Council on 0344 800 8020.
Cllr Greg Peck, Norfolk County Council, Reepham Division
Tel: 07972 230282