Paint Inner West REaD
INFORMATION AND REFERRAL / SERVICES FOR FAMILIES
Newtown Neighbourhood Centre is a proud partner of the early literacy program, Paint Inner West REaD. The initiative encourages a whole-of-community approach to read, talk, sing, and draw with children from birth to help with school readiness.
This is achieved by the program’s brightly painted book swap boxes, which are placed in shops, cafes, and medical centres across neighbourhoods, so that children can have access to reading wherever they are. The boxes, which are similar to street libraries, allow children to borrow, take, or donate books.
The eye-catching wooden boxes, which have been built and donated by TAFE students and Redfern Community Shed, have all been individually decorated by staff from various community organisations or local families.
Paint Inner West REaD also has a cuddly mascot called Garranga Bumarri, a big and beautiful pelican who comes from the Cooks River. He often attends local events to partake in storytelling sessions, share his love of reading, and to meet kids from all over the inner west.
Other components of the program include Books for Newborns, where early childhood community nurses from the Sydney Local Health District, donate brand new books to new parents identified as suitable participants for the sustained home visit program.
In 2020, Newtown Neighbourhood Centre will help extend the program’s reach by encouraging local business owners in Newtown and surrounds to host one of these boxes at their establishment.
About Paint Inner West REaD
Paint Inner West REaD originally begun as Paint Marrickville REaD. The program launched in 2016 and has a pelican mascot called Garranga Bumarri who begun as a tiny egg found in the Cooks River. Children in the area read to the egg over many months at various services across Marrickville South. The egg, like children, benefitted from the reading which allowed it to grow into a very large egg that was delivered in a hatching celebration in 2017. Special guest MP Linda Burney, who attended the event, was invited to officially name the ‘newborn’ mascot Garranga Bumarri, which means ‘pelican’ in the area’s First Language.
Garranga Bumarri continues to love reading and enjoys attending local events and services’ to encourage and support reading, singing, and talking.
Paint Inner West REaD is part of Paint the Town REaD that has chapters across Australia.