It is 25 years since Scottish Book Trust became an independent charity working for the good of people in Scotland. We have become the leading charity of our kind in the world, with a national programme that spans everything from the all-important early years to aiding those living with dementia and their carers.

Our work with schools is recognised as both innovative and strategically decisive, while our writer development programmes continue to unearth literary talent that is recognised at the highest levels. This week we are celebrating Book Week Scotland. No other organisation in the world can offer such a diverse, creative, and complete programme of work.

Twenty-five years – we have come a long way and yet our mission has remained the same. We are a national charity that passionately believes that books, reading and writing can change lives. We know that a love of reading inspires creativity, improves employment opportunities, mental health, wellbeing, and is one of the most effective ways to help break the poverty cycle.

HOW TO HELP: Introducing our Christmas appeal with Scottish Book Trust

Christmas is looking stark for many families. For the third year, our Christmas Appeal, backed by The Herald, will gift books to children and families visiting food banks. The need for food banks is continuing to grow, while over a million people in Scotland are living in poverty, around a quarter of whom are children. Access to books is essential for a child's development and wellbeing, and for many the only books they have at home are the ones that have been given to them by Scottish Book Trust. Books make a huge difference to lives, bringing comfort, escapism and togetherness in families.The Herald:

These are not well-meaning, idle or trivial assertions. Our research, and partnerships with university academics and other experts, independently prove that our work is effective in driving real outcomes in people’s lives.

In other words, we take our charitable mission very seriously. And, with all that has happened in the UK over the last period, we can see that is never more needed than today.

The Herald: The Herald Christmas AppealThe Herald Christmas Appeal (Image: free)

Our society is at a crossroads. Deprivation is increasing. And at the heart of deprivation lies illiteracy. That is why the majority of those in prisons have a reading comprehension age of around 11 years, and why folk growing up in deprived neighbourhoods have fewer opportunities, more mental health and health problems, and why they tend to live shorter lives than the more fortunate.

All this cuts across the ideas we have about the egalitarian nature of our culture and history. Much in these ideas has fallen apart under the social and economic stresses of the early 21st Century. And yet they are worth holding on to because we are all, potentially, equal before the word. The word unlocks human potential and is the primary means by which humans thrive.

We are immensely grateful to The Herald for supporting our Christmas Appeal. Every child deserves a little magic at Christmas and donations from readers to our appeal will provide vital support for those most in need.

Visit for more details of how to donate. Marc Lambert is CEO of Scottish Book Trust