Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question?  We’re here to help!

If you can’t find the answer you were looking for here, please contact us on 01453 839005 or email

Can I volunteer to read books to children in hospital, or can I be a Read for Good storyteller?

Whilst that is a very kind offer which we really appreciate, we are unable to arrange volunteering in hospitals ourselves because each hospital has their own volunteering policy. So our advice is to approach your local hospital directly. 

Our experienced storytellers are professionally trained and undergo a rigorous process of references and safeguarding checks before they go onto the wards. However, we have created an accessible, free, short training programme The Secrets of Storytelling, designed to improve the clinical encounter between professionals and children, but it can be used by anyone – find out more here

And there are lots of other ways you can help us, including making sure your local schools know about Readathon – pupils read for fun and raise money to help get books and stories to children like William. Sign up for our occasional newsletter, and follow and share on social media – it really does make a difference! Visit the ‘How you can help’ page on our website.

Can I donate my used books, or my self-published books?

Thank you very much for your kind offer of books. Whilst we are always interested in taking book donations, as a small team we simply don’t have the resources available to assess every single title for appropriateness, and therefore we seek books published by an established UK publishing house and distributed through recognised high street booksellers and/or online retailers.  

Because of infection control, the books we supply to hospitals must be new and so we are not able to accept second-hand books. If you have nearly-new books to donate, we recommend donating them to BetterWorldBooks or your local charity shop.

I am a publisher with a surplus of books, do you accept donations?

Pristine, brand-new books are a precious lifeline for children in hospital. From the latest titles and award winners, to familiar favourites and treasured classics, picture books to young adult, dyslexia-friendly, braille or large print, and books in other languages, we welcome them all! If you are interested in donating books to help our work, we just ask that they’ve had minimal handling, ideally they won’t have been unpacked at all. A variety of different titles is ideal! More than 30 of one title is harder for us to distribute to hospitals, but we have an aligned schools programme to help boost school libraries that could benefit. Please email

Can you provide your service in my local hospital?

We are currently working in the 30 major children’s hospitals in the UK – see details of where we work here. Currently we don’t have plans to expand. However, we do run a smaller book box scheme for settings in need, including smaller hospitals, giving one-off donations of books. To register your interest, please email

How has COVID impacted your programme and what COVID measures do you have in place?

COVID has had an impact on our work, but it has not stopped it! As our books are brand new, they have been safe for even the most vulnerable children, meaning that we have fulfilled all our deliveries of books to hospitals. Normally the books are shared among children on the wards, however hospitals now tend to limit them to one child per book. Our storytelling sessions went virtual, but some of our storytellers have returned to the wards.

What do your storytellers do?

Our storytellers are trained professionals who immerse the children and young people on the wards in fantasy worlds. They are incredibly adaptable, able to work with toddlers or teenagers. They can read from the books that we provide or create entirely new stories, guided by the thoughts and interests of the children and young people.

What’s a virtual storytelling session?

Our storytellers have been delighting children in hospital with virtual storytelling sessions during the pandemic – and believe me, there is nothing boring about these virtual sessions. Our storytellers creatively use the technology to engage children in fun stories and adventures while stuck in their hospital beds!

How many children does your work in hospitals reach?

In a normal year, we deliver 27,000 brand new books and 224 storytelling days in the 30 major children’s hospitals across the UK, which reaches an estimated 150,000 children. During Covid, we’ve maintained our delivery of books, but they can no longer be shared between children. 

How much do you spend on administration as a charity?

In relation to your donation to our Radio 4 Appeal, all of the money is ring-fenced in order to support our hospital programme. As a charity, we pride ourselves on running a very efficient ship! If you look at our summary page on the Charity Commission website, you can see that last year, 94% of our costs were spent on “Charitable Activities” which is our work encouraging children to read. 

Is my donation going to be matched?

We are thrilled that our long-standing partners, National Book Tokens and The Booksellers Association are jointly match-funding our BBC Radio 4 Appeal, up to a value of £15,000. 

How many books/storytelling sessions will my donation contribute towards?

  • A donation of £45 can pay for delivery of four brand-new children’s books and a live storytelling session with one of our experienced, professional storytellers, while also contributing a small amount to the upkeep of our mobile bookcases.
  • £20 can pay for a brand-new children’s book and a live storytelling session with one of our experienced, professional storytellers 
  • £10 can pay for at least two brand-new children’s books


To donate to our BBC Radio 4 Appeal, please click here

To find out more about our Appeal, please click here