Local volunteers return from charity visit to Ghana

Volunteers from a charity book store based in The Galleries Shopping Centre have returned from a trip where they helped build libraries for the local residents in Ghana. The trip followed a successful campaign to encourage local individuals and schools to donate books for the Ghanaian community.

Book-Cycle is a volunteer run charity that sends free books to schools in developing countries. The charity seeks to empower communities in England and in developing countries through the provision of a variety of educational resources, helping communities to improve both their literacy and their love of learning.

Dr. Mark Yates, one trustee of Book-Cycle who travelled to Ghana, said: “As a result of the generous donations from both individuals and schools in the Wigan borough, more children in Ghanaian schools now have access to a range of literature.

“Schools participated in the project in a number of exciting ways: for instance, some schools hosted a book-themed fancy dress or a non-uniform day.

“Some schools also asked each pupil to bring a book to school in addition to a £1 donation which then facilitated the student’s book being sent to primary schools in the Ashanti region of Ghana in Africa.”

Over the course of two weeks, five libraries were installed in schools with the help of Thrive Africa. Volunteers built shelves, tables, and chairs in addition to painting walls and furnishing the shelves with books from the container. Book-Cycle also worked with

Enliven Mama Africa, a charity based in Ghana, donating sewing machines which will
help this charity to facilitate work for mothers in Kumasi.

Moreover, Book-Cycle volunteers met with a number of individuals from the Ministry of Education in Ghana, discussing possibilities for future collaboration.

Dr. Yates added: “Without this input from the Wigan community, children in Ghana would be restricted to very few books—primarily dated text-books—and these children would struggle to improve their literacy.

“By improving their literacy, Ghanaian children can open the door to a better future, improving their chances of gaining both employment and further education.”

Book-Cycle recently reopened two libraries in the Wigan Borough in addition to opening a shop in the Galleries in Wigan town centre. These branches act as a northern hub for the charity. In the past, volunteers from Book-Cycle have helped to set up over 300 libraries in Africa. This year, Book-Cycle Wigan sent its first container of 50,000 books to Africa.

Victoria Nichol, centre manager of The Galleries, said: “Book-Cycle is a significantly important charity in the Wigan community. Ever since opening their shop in The Galleries, the team have been an instant hit with our visitors.

“We’d encourage people to visit the store – it really is a little haven. They are lovely people and they host a great range of literature, appealing to all ages.”

Book-Cycle’s shop is situated on Hope Street in The Galleries Shopping Centre, open Monday to Friday 9am – 5:30pm.

THE GALLERIES SHOPPING CENTRE, 1 WIGAN GALLERY, WIGAN WN1 1AR
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