Bug’s big award

Circular Head Mayor Daryl Quilliam and Rural Health HIPPY coordinator Leanne Marsden are chuffed that the community’s ‘Reading Bug Egg’ literacy project was a recipient of one of the 2016 Local Government Awards for Excellence. Picture: Ashleigh Force.

Project. Circular Head’s ‘Reading Bug Egg’ has been recognised on a state level, winning an award in the 2016 Local Government Awards for Excellence.

The project, which aimed to encourage reading and a love of stories among children, was the winner in the ‘Delivering Excellence – Smaller Councils’ category.

The award was presented to Circular Head Council, on behalf of what was described as ‘A Whole of Community Literacy Project’.

There to accept the award during the annual Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) conference on Friday, alongside staff and councillors, was Mayor Daryl Quilliam.

“It’s great that our community was recognised for a huge effort of everyone pulling together and getting on board,” he said.

“It was fantastic to be able to show the rest of the state we’re doing something that’s proactive.”

Mayor Quilliam, who is the chairperson of statewide 26TEN Coalition, said the launch of the initiative in November 2014 was at first a “novel event”.

“As it progressed, the longer you thought about it, the more you realised how important it was,” he said.

“It captivated the attention of people to a huge extent.”

In accepting the award, Mayor Quilliam’s speech reflected on the project’s role in lifting literacy in the region. He spoke of the Reading Bug Egg’s focus on parents, particularly fathers, taking time each day to read to their children.

The initiative was introduced to Circular Head through Rural Health HIPPY coordinator Leanne Marsden, who was impressed by a similar concept on the mainland.

She said it was a collaborative effort, with funding from the council’s Circular Head Education and Training Consultative Committee, HIPPY Australia and support from many other community groups and individuals to see the project to fruition: from discovery to hatching over the span of 10 months.

A total of 2859 books had been read to the egg throughout this time, engaging the community’s youngest readers with the promise of the egg hatching once enough books had been read.

“It was a great success!” Ms Marsden said.

“It did involve the whole community to get on board and had more kids reading books.”

A similar initiative is now set to take place in Burnie, through the Police and Community Youth Club.

Rural Health’s HIPPY (Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters) welcomes children of pre-school age to enrol. Children born in 2012 and 2013 are eligible to join now. For more information contact Leanne Marsden at Rural Health on 6452 1266.

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