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Do you have an idea for a way to encourage disadvantaged children to read? The Siobhan Dowd Trust might provide funding

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I knew about Siobhan Dowd (pictured above), the London-born author of children’s books with a strong sense of her Irish heritage, who died far too young at 47, in 2007.

I never met her, and certainly never published her, but I admired her work: tough, original, clever and beautifully written.

She was identified by Waterstones as one of the top “25 authors for the future”, she wrote four award-winning novels for children and teenagers, most published posthumously:

A Swift Pure Cry

The London Eye Mystery

Bog Child

Solace of the Road

And hers was the idea that formed the basis of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness which yesterday won the Red House Book Awards Book of the Year award.

Siobhan Dowd wasn’t only a children’s book author. She was also very active in PEN and worked as Deputy Commissioner for Children’s Rights in Oxfordshire, working with local government to ensure that statutory services affecting children’s lives conform with UN protocols.

So I knew a bit about her, But I didn’t know about the Siobhan Dowd Trust. I found out via @playbythebook on Twitter.

The Siobhan Dowd Trust exists to fund any person or groups that:

*Take stories to children and young people without stories;
*Bring the joy of reading and books to children and young people deprived of access to books and of the opportunity to read;
*Fund and support disadvantaged young readers where there is no funding or support.

This is what they say they’re looking for:

*The trustees wish to fund start up innovative schemes, where a small grant will act as “start-up” or seed money to grow into something bigger and ideally self-sustaining.
*The trustees want to encourage scattered groups to work together and co-ordinate the voluntary sector to learn from each other, not act in isolation or in competition with each other.

They say, “Trustees do not need long detailed notes outlining the need for a grant – we appreciate there is a great deal of need, we want grant submissions to give us all the details of what you plan to do to address this need, and what impact a grant would have.”

There are some examples of scheme’s they’ve funded here

So if you have an idea that could start small and grow big that fits their criteria, why not apply for funding?

The trustees next meet on 29 March, and they need to receive applications a month beforehand, so you have until 29 February to get your submission to them (they’ll meet again 28 June).

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