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Our approach

Literacy Hubs 

National Literacy Trust Hubs create long-term change in communities across the UK where low levels of literacy are entrenched, intergenerational and seriously impacting on people’s lives.

One person in six in the UK lives with poor literacy. This holds them back at every stage of their life. As a child they won't be able to succeed at school, as a young adult they will be locked out of the job market, and on becoming a parent they won't be able to support their child's learning. Lacking these vital skills undermines their wellbeing and stops them making a full contribution to the economic and cultural life of our nation. 

We work with local authorities and a wide range of local partners including voluntary and community organisations, businesses, health, education and cultural organisations to embed literacy services in the local community.

In the UK, poverty, literacy and place are closely linked, but every community faces different challenges.

We have been developing a local areas model since 1995. A major review of area based approaches with the Basic Skills Agency in 2007 fed into local family literacy partnerships established with 21 local authorities in 2008.

This led to the creation of the National Literacy Trust Hub model, with our first hub opening in Middlesbrough in 2013, following by Bradford and Peterborough the following year. In 2016 we partnered with Manchester City Council to create Read Manchester.

We target our work where we can have the greatest impact. There is a range of criteria used for selecting hub areas, including adult literacy levels, school attainment data at KS2 and GCSE, FSM and deprivation data.

We carry out extensive scoping activity to map existing provision against need and key beneficiaries and identify partners, including local/nation, community, education and business. This targeted approach has real benefits and impact to the local area.

Benefits and impact

Each Hub:

  • Raises literacy levels among the hardest to engage in the area 

    “Dads can look after their children and Dads can do things differently – now I don’t just say I’m off, I’m going to the football. Now I take my sons with me!”

    A dad from a programme to engage dads in Bradford to improve school readiness.
  • Integrates resources from community, business, education and local authority partners 

    In Middlesbrough, we work with Bliss to provide welcome packs for parents with babies in neo-natal wards. It includes guidance and tips on sharing stories with babies from birth, as well as a gift book for every family.
  • Delivers communication campaigns reaching target audiences and the wider community 

    We develop local media partnerships to disseminate messaging broadly and reach specific communities via grass-roots campaigning.  We run literacy-themed events and competitions in the local community and each hub has its own campaign microsite.
  • Brings national expertise and partners to an area to improve literacy

    Working with BookTrust in Middlesbrough, we’ve expanded its reach into women’s refuges and have supported the Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge in Middlesbrough and Bradford by funding prizes for schools which take part.

National Literacy Trust Hubs report - 2016

Our Hubs in Middlesbrough, Bradford and Peterborough have been improving educational outcomes from the early years to secondary schools since 2012.


The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944.
Registered address: 68 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1RL.