GIFT bags full of books themed around science will be given to children and families through Swindon's libraries over the summer.

This is part of the Reading Agency’s new three-year Reading Sparks programme which aims to inspire a lifelong love of STEM subjects in young people and bridge the gap in science capital for families from lower socio-economic groups, teenage girls and BAME communities.

Library services will gift the packs via a variety of partners and engagement activities, including food banks, early help and troubled families teams, refugee support schemes and via holiday activities and food programmes.

The Reading Agency CEO Karen Napier said: "Our exciting new programme is demonstrating the role that reading can play in sparking science engagement across the country, especially in areas with low science capital. This year children and families need support over the summer holidays more than ever.

"This gift forms part of our commitment to supporting the Covid recovery for those in greatest need and supporting learning and aspiration across all communities."

Libraries director at Arts Council England, Sue Williamson, added: “Arts Council England is proud to support The Reading Agency and the Reading Sparks programme which is helping young people who have been severely affected by the pandemic, reaching into some of the most deprived areas across the UK.

"Library services are the heart of the community and are fundamental in supporting people through the recovery from Covid. We’re delighted that library services will be working with The Reading Agency, gifting the packs via a variety of partners, including food banks, Early Help and Troubled Families teams, refugee support schemes and through holiday activities”.