We apologise for the technical issues that some of you have been experiencing when signing up and using the Summer Reading Challenge website. The new digital Summer Reading Challenge is a pilot created in a short space of time to ensure that children could keep reading over the summer as a result of the closure of libraries and schools. Due to the speed of having to get the new website up and running, there are areas of the site that are not operating as smoothly as we would have liked. We are genuinely sorry that some aspects of this year's Challenge have not been an easy process for those who have signed up, and very much appreciate your feedback which will help us improve the site for the future.
This year, as a charity, we seriously had to consider cancelling the Summer Reading Challenge and disappointing the thousands of children who normally take part. As you know previously the Challenge took place in libraries, with physical materials such as medals being available. With all libraries closed due to the current pandemic, we chose to launch the Challenge via a free digital platform making it available earlier than usual, as we felt there was huge value in offering the platform to children and their families who were living with the effects of lockdown and social distancing.
Since going online, we have been experiencing a huge amount of traffic to the website, nearly 50,000 sign-ups in the first month (100,000 if you include parent accounts!) This is fantastic, but as a result, it has caused a few delays and some technical glitches in a way that no one could have envisaged. Please note that the multi-step signup and verification process is a legal requirement as we adhere to GDPR regulations and our own safeguarding policy to ensure we keep all children safe online.
Please be assured we are working closely with our website team to improve the functionality of the pilot site and review the way the platform works, making changes and edits as we can along the way. As we continue to refine the functionality on an ongoing basis, your feedback is very valuable to us, especially as we take these learnings on board for next year's Challenge.
As a charity and like many other organisations, we have been working hard to deliver business as usual, whilst also having to make use of the government furlough scheme meaning that as a small team, we are working with limited staff and resource. Some of you have mentioned a delay in receiving a response. We apologise if this process has not been satisfactory and thank you for your patience as we all try and navigate new ways of working in this complex time. If you have a query please contact the customer service team at firstname.lastname@example.org
We do hope that you and your family join the Silly Squad and enjoy the Summer Reading Challenge 2020.