Published: Thursday, 16th March 2023

Free books, storytelling sessions and a pioneering book swap station are just some of the ways Medway’s children and young people are being encouraged to develop a passion for reading.

Our Child-Friendly Medway team has launched the For the Love of Reading initiative to encourage children to read more and help grow their imaginations.

The team has been giving out free books once a month at events and hidden book trails across Medway. The books have been found in playgrounds, at shopping centres and on benches.

A For the Love of Reading book corner has been set up near Wilko in the Pentagon Shopping Centre in Chatham. Parents and carers can bring their children, toddlers or babies to free drop-in sessions and listen to stories read by the Child-Friendly Medway team. Pop-up community story time sessions are also being held across Medway. The next sessions are being held at Sun Pier House in Chatham on Wednesday, 22 March and at the Sunlight Centre, Gillingham, on Wednesday, 26 April between 10.30-11.30am. For more information, and to book your child’s space, email

The team has also set up a book swap at the book corner in the Pentagon Shopping Centre, where children and young people can exchange any unwanted books for stories they have not read. If you have books to donate email or drop them off at the book swap shop in the shopping centre.

Creating more opportunities for children in Medway

Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “Having books at home and making time to read helps develop children’s imaginations, introduces them to new words and subjects and can also improve their mental wellbeing. Creating more opportunities for children in Medway and ensuring they have the best start in life lies at the heart of everything we do. I would encourage parents and carers to find out more about the free sessions on offer and to take part in the fantastic book swap scheme.”

The Child-Friendly Medway team was formed in April 2021 and has created a platform for children and young people to share their views and have their say on what they would like to see in the area they are growing up in. The team provides a range of free activities and events for children, young people and families in Medway.

Find out more including upcoming events and activities

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