A campaign by the Reading Agency to get people reading has seen more than 170 people at Northampton College discover the joy of books, with some students even becoming published authors themselves.

The Reading Ahead scheme encourages people to read a minimum of six items and share their thoughts on what they have read. It is part of a national drive to improve literacy and encourage people to use libraries.

The Northampton College library has been awarded a gold award for its completion rates as part of the scheme and more than 50 students who took part were honoured at a ceremony attended by the Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Gareth Eales and local author Sue Bentley.

Debbie Hicks, creative director at The Reading Agency, which organises the annual campaign, said: “Reading opens a window to the world. Everything changes when you read, it helps you see the world differently and see other people better. We want to get more people reading more often, and to encourage them to share their stories and inspire others to read.”

The ceremony also saw students honoured for writing poetry and short stories, as well as for photography and illustration.

Patrick Leavey, deputy principal of Northampton College, said: “The library is the heartbeat of the college. It is an intrinsic part of student life and provides the resource to help put students at the centre of all our activities.

“Reading adds tremendous value to student engagement, supporting student progress and helping to develop essential life skills.”

As part of the ceremony, a group of students officially unveiled ‘Aurum’ – an anthology of short stories created as part of their course which has seen them become published authors. The work is now available to buy on Amazon and is stocked in the College library.

Sue Bentley, who has written more than 70 books which have been translated into more than 20 languages, said: “The best adventures you can have in the world start with a book. Reading is a joyful experience and it’s wonderful to see so many College students embrace the Reading Ahead scheme and immerse themselves in new books, new experiences and new stories.”

For more information on courses available at Northampton College visit www.northamptoncollege.ac.uk.

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