Inspiring Older Readers

posted on 30 Aug 2021

Using books to bring us all together: Malvern Welcomes Big Book Bonanza

Even here at The Letterpress Project where books line the walls and every day brings a new search for more to join the swelling ranks, there comes a time for a bit of strategic retrenchment. And so, during the worst and darkest Covid times we started sympathetically trimming down some of the groaning shelves and making tough decisions about what we could let go to make space for the new incomers.

Slowly, box by box, the numbers we were prepared to let go grew until we had a rented storage locker filled. But what to do with them? These were good books and in fine condition so surely they could be made to work for us: a worthwhile project was called for.

As it turned out, the darker days of Covid were also very bad times for charities looking to raise funds and so, putting two and two together, we came up with the answer: a charity fundraising book sale. And so the idea of the Bargain Book Bonanza was born.

For some time the Letterpress project Director, Karen Argent, has been a keen supporter of Malvern Welcomes, a charity supporting the resettlement of refugees seeking sanctuary from war and persecution. They express their mission in these terms:

"Our aim is to maintain a welcoming atmosphere towards refugees resettling in the Malvern Hills area and to offer appropriate practical assistance and support to these families, who have fled violence and the horrors of war, in order that they live fulfilled lives free from poverty, discrimination and harassment.

We encourage their integration into living and working in the local community in order that they become independent as swiftly as is practicable."

A perfect fit with our values here at the Letterpress Project! And so the Malvern Welcomes Big Bargain Book Bonanza took shape – our books would go to raising funds for this great project and all their admirable volunteers.

Finally on Saturday 28th August 2021 the date for the sale dawned and a room full of books (see the photographs) was prepared right in the heart of Malvern, courtesy of the Lyttleton Well Christian Outreach Centre who magnificently donated the room and space for free.

And this was going to be something more than just a book sale. This was a chance to promote the work of Malvern Welcomes to the public, many of who were holiday makers in town for the last Bank Holiday weekend of the summer, and also a chance to bring together the refugee families themselves and to get them involved in the day, helping to run the book sale and meet the customers.

And what a great day we all had! The sale hummed with interested buyers and well-wishers, the families had great fun and the sense of community feeling was palpable.

Exhausting but incredibly satisfying – and so many books found an excited new owner.

Oh, and in case you’re interested, yes, we made money. Over £1,000 found its way into the Malvern Welcomes bank account and we just know they make use of every one of those pounds.


Terry Potter

August 2021