THOUSANDS of free books are set to be delivered to disadvantaged families this Christmas as part of a new charitable project.

Keep Colchester Reading, set up by councillor Lee Scordis, is aiming to deliver thousands of books to children and adults across the borough this festive season to encourage a love of reading amongst residents.

More than 2,000 books have already been donated by kind-hearted residents and businesses, with the first deliveries set to go out in the coming weeks.

Mr Scordis (Lab, Old Heath and Hythe) said: "After helping with the delivery of food to free school meal families over half-term, it came into my head this Christmas there was another area of inequality that was neglected - literacy.

"Studies show children who grow up in a home full of books and learn to read early-on and continue to read will severely outperform those children who do not, at school and in later life.

"Reading improves communication skills, cognitive abilities, and speech, which in turn increases a child's confidence.

"It is also proven to increase empathy. in adults reading is known to improve communication skills, knowledge and to reduce stress. "

Books won't just be delivered to children, but adults too, in order to create a love of reading within families.

Mr Scordis said: "If on Christmas day parents put down their tablets and mobile phones and encourage family reading time it would have a huge impact that would benefit parents and children.

"The project is also open to adults who are not parents. There are many people out there struggling financially and mentally in lockdown.

"If you want to get a book from us, I will make sure you do."

If the project is a success, Mr Scordis hopes to bring it back in time for both Easter and the summer holidays in 2021.

Keep Colchester Reading is in need of books as well as volunteers and has launched a Go Fund Me page to pay for new books from Red Lion Books and Wivenhoe Bookshop, gift wrapping and bookmarks.

Donate at

If you want to help the project, email or visit