CHILDREN at four schools in and around York are benefitting from a great gift from a local group.

York Vikings Rotary Club say they are making it as easy as ABC for primary school children in York to find the right word.

Using some of the £2,000 raised over the Christmas period, the group has provided pictorial dictionaries to four school libraries.

They have allocated a further £600 to provide reading books for children who might otherwise not have access to books at home.

The new initiative follows on from York Vikings Rotary’s donation of tablet computers to local schools to help disadvantages student during Covid-19 lockdowns last year.

York Vikings Rotary president Ron Gatenby said: “That campaign was vital to ensure that all children had access to learning technology when schooling from home.

“What became apparent though was that many children didn’t even have access to books and we wanted to help rectify that.”

The four primary schools to benefit - Naburn CE, Tang Hall, Heworth CE and Lord Deramore’s in Heslington – have each taken delivery of 24 Usborne pictorial dictionaries from York Vikings Rotary.

Each school has also been gifted £150 to buy other books specifically for children for whom reading at home may be a new experience.

Ron said: “Of course we understand that children these days use the internet as an invaluable source of information when researching projects. But we know too that instilling a love of books at a young age can create a lifelong passion for reading. We are keen to support hard-pressed local schools as they strive to build that reading habit.”

Jonathan Green, the new head teacher at Naburn Primary School, has welcomed the donation.

Mr Green said: “It’s made a real difference already.

“The children used them immediately in a writing exercise they did.

"I know that the dictionaries will help to add positively to our classroom resources and build their love of words and learning.”

York Vikings Rotary Club has around 40 members who each pledge ‘service above self’.

They meet at Pike Hills Golf Club in York each Tuesday at 7.30pm and provide practical and financial support to charities and good causes across the region.

Other good causes they support in the city include homeless charity SASH and Hoping Street Kitchen in York.

Throughout the pandemic, Hoping York Street Kitchen continued to provide cooked meals and other support to the homeless. And as the charity’s team, which are all unpaid volunteers, got back out on the streets to help the growing number of people sleeping rough in the city, York Vikings Rotary Club members got involved to offer their support.

When the club first learned of Hoping’s work with the homeless they were keen to help.

In 2020, under the leadership of president, Mick Fox, they made a cash donation as part of the ‘Rotary4foodbanks’ scheme.