Evie Keough – Boromi

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Boromi (“Borrow-Me”) has become an award-winning, national network of non-profit Play Libraries, created by Let Teachers SHINE winner Evie Keough.

Evie says, “Over the last couple of years, I have built Boromi with a vision to empower every parent to support and nurture their child’s early development through powerful, purposeful play together at home, where it matters most.

“Over the first five years of life, a child’s parents and their home environment have the greatest impact upon their long-term development all the way to the age of 18 and playing and talking together over this time is the single most important thing a parent can do to nurture early learning and development.

“However, due to chronic under funding and recognition of the early years sector, access for parents of children aged 0-5 to free, local parenting support is not equitable or fit for purpose; a luxury all too often attainable only by those with the means to afford paid-for services. Thus, further widening the disparity between parents with fewer opportunities to build the awareness, knowledge and skills to nurture the early development of their children.”

Boromi seeks to address this problem through a Play Libraries programme; providing free resources and prompts to parents to help every child to regularly experience positive and playful interactions with their caregiver over their first five years.

Evaluation data so far shows that:

  • 100% of schools reported that Boromi has given parents practical ideas about how to play and talk with their child.
  • 60% of schools believe that parents are more likely to engage with Boromi compared to online programmes/tools as activities are hands-on and about adult-child interactions. In addition, not all parents have internet access.
  • 80% of schools indicated and celebrated the fact that there had been a significant increase in engagement between parents and school, including those from dads and other male carers.

Evie has set a very ambitious scaling-up target to reach 200 schools in the North by 2026. She also aspires to further expand and build out the Boromi offer to reach children in community settings such as libraries, food banks and local churches.