Grants and Project Director

Meet Annie Barnden, Grants and Project Director for UK Reads with a background in teaching, Trust fundraising management and project delivery.

Ever since I can remember I have loved to talk! There is a running joke in my family, that I would start talking before I opened my eyes each morning and would still be talking to my mum as I drifted off to sleep each night. My love of words soon grew into a love for books. Even when my mum was busy, or my brother was not interested in playing with me, I would escape into the imaginary world of books. In a story, no-one is too busy or too cool to talk to you- and I would spend many happy hours with everyone from Piglet and Pooh to Harry Potter! At university I trained to be a teacher. Throughout my degree I worked with families in some of the most disadvantaged areas in London; many of whom were refugees and English was not their first language. Some of the children had been so greatly affected by their experiences that they were elective mutes. To witness children trapped in a world of silence, with no words to express themselves, had a huge impact on me and I knew I wanted to work in organisations that would help give these children the words and confidence to find their voice.

I now have two children of my own and reading to them every evening is a lovely way to end the day- my daughter Poppy has inherited my love of books and talking! And recently, whilst sat in traffic, my son Oscar was sat in his car-seat when he read his first word off the side of a building… ‘VET’! The swell of pride I felt was nothing in comparison to the grin on his face!

It’s a privilege to be the Grants and Project Director for the World Literacy Foundation’s UK Reads initiative. I hope to use my background in grant fundraising and project management to deliver books into the hands of as many children as possible and work with families and communities to discover the joy of the written word.