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.
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.
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.
Our unique, creative space for interactive learning, workshops and immersive storytelling.
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.
Debs has joined the Kingsley&Co and Ykids team as Story Keeper whilst Kat is on Maternity leave. In the past Debs has been a supply teacher and is a real creative, full of her own amazing ideas to make Kingsley&Co magical for our children. Debs has been busy organising the Bootle Children's Literary Festival and will be supporting the Kingsley&Co workshops
Chief Executive Officer of Ykids
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!
Digital Content Developer
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.