(Mayank Pandit and Andy McNab)
Bestselling author and our Ambassador Andy McNab visited Leicester City Council's Passenger and Transport Services Section on 4 June to celebrate the Six Book Challenge with staff and trade union learning representatives.
The Six Book Challenge has been run at the council section by Unison and Lifelong Learning representatives in partnership with management since October 2013, via a workplace reading group which now has 46 members.
To date 30 employees have completed the 2014 Six Book Challenge. Andy gave out certificates to completers, gave a talk about his career, and signed copies of his books.
Royal Mail in Swindon
On 6 June Andy also visited Royal Mail processing centre in Swindon where the Six Book Challenge has been run by Communication Workers Union trade union learning representatives in partnership with the Royal Mail. Andy handed out certificates to some of the 34 workers who have completed the Challenge at the processing centre.
Royal Mail worker Dick Burke (pictured, left) says: "I did the Six Book Challenge for the first time last year. I hadn't read a book in 30 years, and I still wouldn't, if it hadn't been for the Six Book Challenge."
Dick's co-worker Sandy Best says: "It really ignited my passion for reading."
Andy's visits to Leicester City Council's Passenger and Transport Services Section and Royal Mail processing centre in Swindon was part of his wider support for the Six Book Challenge. During May and June 2014 he has been travelling the country to visit workplaces and other settings where Six Book Challenge participation has been high or where reading has been actively promoted. He recently visited Edinburgh's Oxgangs Library during Adult Learner's Week in Scotland.
Getting the best chances in life
Andy McNab says: "We all want to have the best chances in life but reading and writing with confidence are key to this. The Six Book Challenge is a fantastic way for people at work to improve their skills at the same time as enjoying reading and talking about it with their colleagues and friends,"
"It's wonderful to have such strong support from Andy," says Genevieve Clarke, our Six Book Challenge progrmme manager. "We have clear evidence that the Six Book Challenge is having a beneficial impact on people's skills and helping them to develop a new reading habit. It's the icing on the cake for participants to meet a top author who talks with such enthusiasm about their own love of reading."
Brian Tagg, education co-ordinator for Unison's Leicester City branch says: "Unison has always been committed to lifelong learning as a way of helping its members develop their skills. Encouraging people to read for pleasure is an excellent way of helping them improve their literacy in a way that is rewarding and enjoyable for its own sake. Unison is delighted to be involved with the Six Book Challenge as part of its commitment to promote learning," (Gavin McCann, a Learning and Development Organiser for UNISON, Brian Tagg, Andy McNab, Mayank Pandit)
Leicester County Council Transport co-ordinator Mayank Pandit adds: "I strongly believe that the state of the world is not due to the activity of negative people but the inactivity of positive people. The Six Book Challenge has given me a very good opportunity to meet positive people working near me. It is a privilege to get such tremendous support from the readers, from management, library and other council staff and from Unison and The Reading Agency."
Royal Mail manager Paul Morris says: "We have been running the Six Book Challenge for several years and we are delighted that so many people have the enthusiasm and determination to take up the Challenge. It is so worthwhile and we are happy to support it."
Sandra Absalom, CWU lead union learning representative says: "The Six Book Challenge encourages readers of all abilities to take part; it enables them to escape for a while into another world."
Workplaces interested in taking part in the Six Book Challenge can read more about the programme or contact Genevieve Clarke for more information.
Take a look at our top tips for running the Challenge in workplaces. Remember to fill in your survey and evaluation forms by 7 July to be eligible for an award.