A SHOPPING centre in Hereford has launched a quest to find a young reading hero who has used reading to positively benefit others.

Old Market Hereford is asking parents, guardians, teachers, families and friends in Hereford to nominate a child under the age of 12 who they think has gone above and beyond to inspire or help others through books.

The initiative is part of the Young Readers Programme, a partnership between its owner, British Land, and the National Literacy Trust.

The programme is designed to encourage children aged 11 and under to read for enjoyment in their spare time.

Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, said: “We know that reading for pleasure is one of the most effective ways to help children reach their full potential.

"Our research shows that children who enjoy reading every day outside school are five times more likely to read above the expected level for their age than those who don’t.

"With the support of British Land and its shopping centres and retailers across the UK, our Young Readers Programme has helped more than 19,000 children choose books to enjoy and keep. For many, these were the first books they had ever owned."

The winner will be chosen by a judging panel made up of representatives from British Land, Old Market, the National Literacy Trust.

A literary-themed prize will be awarded to the winner which will include £100 of National Book Tokens for their school, £50 of National Book Tokens for themselves, plus a copy of My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons.

The Young Readers Programme, now in its third year at Old Market, also saw schoolchildren from Withington, Riverside and St Martin’s Primary Schools take part in a series of literacy-focused events. This culminated in a trip to Old Market Hereford where pupils were treated to an animated storytelling session and educational activities with staff from Old Market.

Nominations can now be made via Old Market Hereford’s website where adults can submit an entry describing why their nominee deserves to win.