Rural families in Hay were visited by Holroyd’s mascot Poppy the Possum when ‘Paint the Town REaD’ rolled into town from March 31 until April 2.
The visit formed part of a literacy and readership campaign for regional NSW with Holroyd council.
Holroyd mayor Nasr Kafrouni said the Hay partnership served both communities and had resulted in exciting exchanges for rural children like Paint the Town REaD.
"Since the program started in Holroyd three years ago, council has reached out to over 5,000 families, showing mums and dads why it is important to read to children from birth,’’ Cr Kafrouni said.
"Hay wants to make a change today that will help children get the best start in life, and in return, a better future for the town.’’
Poppy the Possum visited local schools, libraries and child care centres in Hay with storytime sessions over the three days.
"Early literacy is a concern for many NSW communities," said Gaylene Stephens from the Hay Visitor Centre.
‘‘We’ve had positive feedback and a willingness to know more from councillors, school principals and local teachers... and the kids enjoyed the treats.’’
Like Holroyd, Hay will incorporate reading activities for children at their council events and functions. To assist in developing the program, Holroyd will donate a program mascot.The recent Hay visit has also inspired a new Poppy the Possum children's book for Holroyd, which will be available in June.
For more information on the Paint the Town REaD program, call 9840 9840.