What is Kingsley & Co?

Kingsley & Co is a literacy project of Ykids Children's charity in Liverpool. Named after Victorian Explorer, Mary Kingsley, Kingsley & Co aims to inspire and equip young explorers using the power of 'story'.

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Who are we?

Kingsley and Co is a literacy project with the vision to engage as many children as possible with stories, reading and adventure. As part of the work we do, we have a bookshop/cafe, work in schools and run workshops as well as many other events which you can check out on our upcoming events page. 

Ykids have been working in the community of Bootle for over 17 years running both large scale community events and weekly kids clubs for children ages 4-18. Ykids aims to invest in children and young people, who then gain confidence and self belief to make be the change they want to see in their community.  

See our website for information about Ykids Charity, our vision and values.

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Origin Story...

Who was Mary Kingsley?

Mary Kingsley, a strong independent single woman, first visiting west Africa in 1893.  When she returned from exploring in 1895 she wrote two bestselling books about her experiences.  These books gave people the chance to see Africa in a new way and influenced public perception of the African people. 


This ability to live a dream, explore new things, gain new experience and then communicate it to others are partly the inspiration for Ykids, Kingsley & Co project.


Why does Kingsley exist?


Bootle sits in the bottom 6% of the UK for literacy levels according to the Guardian Newspaper.


This lower level of achievement in reading is not just relevant to the children’s academic achievement, but according to the Literacy Trust this can have an impact on their future lives and their mental wellbeing.  There are many factors that contribute to reading attainment, but one made factor according to Government research is reading for pleasure.   


What is change we want to see?   

Knowing that reading and a love of story makes a difference, we want to see change in our community and beyond. 

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Vision in action

Kingsley and Co is a children’s literacy project and bookshop with a Victorian Steam punk Explorer theme. Designed as a place to inspire the imagination, Kingsley and Co offers a small café, hidden Submarine themed classroom, excellent quality secondhand children’s books for only £1 and is a showcase for local authors and patrons. The shop has a quirky, “Victorian meets futuristic” feel with moving bookcases, story doors to nowhere, a Victorian sweet shop and fairy tale merchandise. 

The Bookshop

We sell good quality, second-hand books for £1, as well as new books by local authors and award-winning Patrons.

Family Workshops

Throughout the year we host storytelling events with authors, family workshops, book signings as well as online competitions.

The Classroom

Our unique, creative space for interactive learning, workshops and immersive storytelling.

Throughout the year we host storytelling events with authors, family workshops, book signings as well as online competitions.

The Cafe

Our cafe is stocked with vintage treats, fresh cakes, delicious barista quality coffee and tea served with a smile.

Throughout the year we host storytelling events with authors, family workshops, book signings as well as online competitions.

An event that brings together schools, artists, authors and performers to celebrate literacy and inspire children with exciting experiences

Throughout the year we host storytelling events with authors, family workshops, book signings as well as online competitions.

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Meet The Team

The Kingsley & Co team work alongside a fantastic group of volunteers who support the general running of the shop, as well as creating and maintaining the magical atmosphere.

Claire Morgans
Chief Executive Officer of Ykids

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Kingsley & Co was Claire's 'brainchild' inspired by the life of Victorian Explorer, Mary Kingsley and the steampunk themes of the book 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas'. Claire's aim was to create a unique and immersive space to inspire the children of Bootle to read, and in turn reap the life-changing benefits of having access to books and literacy skills. In her spare time, Claire bakes beautiful cakes for local superheroes!


Rachel Power

Digital Content Developer
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Rachel is our Rank Foundation, Time to Shine, Leader. Rachel has fantastic digital skills and will be developing our online platforms, aiming to engage as many children as possible with literacy and play, through digital.

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Darran Draper
Deputy CEO of Ykids

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Darran Draper is the Deputy CEO of Ykids. He has helped develop and build Kingsley & Co from an empty shop unit to an immersive experience for children. He now oversees the staff and development of the project with an eye for detail and a fine hat collection.

Liz Jones
Project Manager

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Liz is our new Kingsley&Co project manager. She oversees the day-to-day running of the bookshop, manages our wonderful volunteers and will begin leading workshops and event in the coming year. Liz was previously an Early Years Teacher and is a fantastic children's worker. 

Kat Bent
Story Keeper

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Kat Bent is our Story Keeper. Her role is to help develop our workshops and events as well as our relationships with local schools and authors. Kat is a former-Primary School Teacher with a passion to inspire children with stories.

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