President of Bradford Chamber Nick Garthwaite becomes trustee of children’s literacy charity

Nick Garthwaite, managing director of Bradford-based Christeyn’s UK, has been appointed as trustee of Canterbury Imagine, a small literacy charity working in the Bradford district.

Nick, who is currently President of the Bradford Chamber of Commerce, has been a keen supporter of the charity’s aims of improving literacy and life chances for under-5s in some of the most deprived areas of the city. He chose Canterbury Imagine as one of his charities of the year for the Chamber.

Nick, who trained as an engineer, joined Christeyn’s UK in 2010.

Inspiring the next generation into manufacturing and engineering has been a key focus for Nick, and he sees improved literacy from an early age as an important part of creating the district’s workforce of the future.

“Canterbury Imagine currently funds free books which are delivered into the homes of about 1,000 Bradford children every month. Encouraging literacy skills among babies and young children means they are ready to start school with sufficient skills to enable them to achieve their potential,” he said.

“These children will become the young people who will be employed by Bradford businesses in years to come, and it is important they are supported to gain the education and skills they will need.”

Canterbury Imagine aims to help to improve literacy, emotional development, educational attainment and life chances by providing a free book through the post every month from birth until the child’s fifth birthday. The children build up their own ‘library’ of quality books.

It does this by affiliating to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, and also helps to support the children’s centres and families with literacy activities. The scheme is cost-effective, as it costs 25 pounds a year to fund 12 books to a child.

Canterbury Imagine works in the Canterbury area of Bradford, and around the Midland Road area of Manningham.

More than 500 children have now ‘graduated’ from the scheme – having received free books for the first five years of their lives.

Canterbury Imagine is appealing for business sponsorship and also for people interested in books, such as book groups, to pledge to give £2 a month via the charity’s website at to sponsor a child’s reading. More information and contact details are available on the website.

Founder Jan Winter said: “We are so delighted that Nick agreed to become a trustee. He has the skills and enthusiasm for literacy to help us as we continue to fund books and activities, and aim to expand when funding becomes available.

“The charity has been running since 2012 and is run by the trustees, who are all volunteers.

“The children registered with our schemes in Bradford are already developing a love of books and reading which will help them to be ready for school and pay dividends in later life.

“We are seeking more funding to ensure this can continue and expand in the district.”