Our Shop Reopens on Monday, 12th April


The Book Relief team is very pleased to let all our customers know that we will be reopening on Monday.

The shop will be open from 10:00 until 16:00 from Mondays to Saturdays.

There will be the usual Covid restrictions in place (masks, only 2 customers in shop at once,
and a one way system around the shop so that we can observe social distancing.

We are not taking any donations of books at the moment but hope to do so again in a few weeks time.

We do look forward to welcoming you back.

Please tell your friends too. .



Book Relief UK

'Let Us All Read'

Book Relief UK

If education is the road out of poverty,
books are the wheels needed for the journey

Book Relief UK

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket

Why literacy?

In a speech once given on International Literacy Day, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, succinctly summed up it up as:


'Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right. Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realise his or her full potential.'


If you would like to help our small literacy charity with any donation we have set up a secure Pay Pal account from the 'Donate' button. Thank you so much.
Kofi Annan


About Us

Starting Out

BookRelief UK is a literacy charity that started life as a community group in Appledore, North Devon in October 2006 and became a registered charity in March 2010.

As a literacy charity, BookRelief UK has coordinated several programmes in North Devon beginning with a North Devon Schools Reading Programme in 2007 delivered in association with the National Literacy Trust’s Reading is Fundamental programme.

In 2011 BookRelief UK introduced and coordinated a one-to-one mentoring programme in the Bideford area for school children who are slow or reluctant readers – in association with Reading Matters of Bradford and the Bideford Learning Community. This programme was extended to 2013/4 but from 2014/5 onwards is being run independently of BRUK by Bideford Learning Community.

And Further . . .

BookRelief UK also have programmes for collecting and storing used books – which are either sold to raise funds for local literacy programmes or sent abroad through our Books Overseas Programme – which are currently run in conjunction with Book-Cycle of Exeter.

Our People

We are a volunteer-led organisation. We have no paid employees although we do occasionally sub-contract a sessional worker to coordinate a particular programme if our funding specifically allows for it - as is the case with our Schools Reading Programme run in association with Reading Matters.

Our Patron is: Michael Morpurgo

Our Trustees are:

Rev John Carvosso - Chair

John Carter - Bookshop Manager

Jeremy Bell

Mary Beer

Barry Evetts receiving a cheque from Jeremy Bell

Barry Evetts receiving a cheque from Jeremy Bell

Barry Evetts - Our Founder



Current Projects


Being a literacy charity we believe that advocacy is another important role for us at BookRelief UK. As the National Literacy Trust puts it (drawing in turn on a 2002 OECD report), 'Reading for pleasure has been revealed as the most important indicator of the future success of a child', while in a wider sense, 'the benefits of improving literacy for the individual, the community, the workforce and the nation', are clearly important considerations for all of us.

We are keen to partner with and/or publicise any other charities working within the literacy field. Currently, for example, we are looking into literacy work within Prisons in the UK and are in contact with the Shannon Trust We are keen to partner with and/or publicise any other charities working within the literacy field. Currently, for example, we are looking into literacy work within Prisons in the UK and are in contact with the Shannon Trust www.shannontrust.org.uk

  • We are helping with books and small financial donations within Devon Hospitals and Prisons
  • We are in touch with the librarians and have sent several boxes of books that they requested
  • We have also been helping, in a small way, with the Doorstep Library


In 2015 we completed our Global Giving project, Books-By-The-Palletload-For-African-Children: Project No 16803 on the Global Giving website www.globalgiving.co.uk. During the project we worked with a local North Devon charity The David Rundle Trust in sending Maths textbooks out to Rwanda. The books had been donated by Dore primary school in Sheffield. We completed the project by sending a lorryload of books to one of our partner charities www.book-cycle.org in Exeter for sorting and onward transport to West Africa.


Empower  the Gambia founder, Jo Heaven, has been taking groups out to the Gambia since 2008 and visits every year to support community projects, meet with elders, head teachers and community leaders to find out what help they need to improve the lives of women and children.

Jo writes about her charity Empower  the Gambia, our projects include setting up 3 community libraries, linking with 8 schools (including their libraries), organic gardening training, resourcing a poultry project, sponsoring over 100 children, football training (including setting up girls teams), sponsoring bikes for health workers and bike training

We send out regular shipments to support the projects throughout the year and have link workers in the communities to assist in project planning.

We fundraise in the UK to support these projects as well as apply for grants and links with businesses.

BRUK helps with books and small financial donations.


The children's books we donated last February to one of our current four projects www.projectpearls.org have arrived and the children are using them in their school in the Phillipines. Daren Stone, the UK rep for the project, has sent us these photos of the children with some of the books. Daren has recently been to collect 5 boxes of books and is due to come again in mid July. If any of our supporters have books they would like to donate or money for the school library please do contact John Carvosso.

Completed Projects


Thanks to support from the Bideford Learning Community, a grant from the Big Lottery's 'Awards for All' scheme, and the services of Reading Matters of Bradford, BookRelief UK coordinated and managed the delivery of a 'Reading Mentors' training progamme in June 2011. This programme was designed to improve the reading skills and confidence of young people and a recent academic study showed a 10-week programme with a volunteer reading mentor trained through this scheme resulted in an average increased reading age of 15-months.

Thanks to a further tranche of funding from 'Awards for All' we coordinated the delivery of 2 further training sessions in February 2014, expanding the range of participating schools to include those in the Barnstaple, Braunton, Torrington and Okehampton areas.


  • In partnership with Amigos charity in Barnstaple sending books out to their sponsored farm in Uganda (Kira farm).
  • In partnership with African Revival sending out books to a school in Zambia.
  • Sending books direct to a school in Kenya on behalf of The Glad’s House Orphanage Trust.
  • Connecting Instow Primary School to a school in Sierra Leone when BRUK was able to send them a selection of books.


As you, our generous supporters, will have seen from my last report, we have concluded 'books-by-the-palletload-for-african-children' AND would love to have you on board for our next literacy project.

Book Relief's founder, the late Barry Evetts, had started finding out about 'Prison Literacy' nearly two years ago and so we (current Book Relief UK trustees) decided that, once the Palletload project was completed, we would begin this as a new project.

So, we are starting by working with the Shannon Trust and have had a proposal from them to contribute towards the book (Turning Pages)they use for their literacy work within the prison service. Their website is well worth visiting.

I have also, on Book Relief's behalf, been in touch with another charity, recommended by Global Giving, called Prisoners Advice, and we may perhaps have mutual interests. Again their website is well worth visiting.

Can I, once again thank you all for your support with 'Pallets', our initial project with Global Giving, and hope that you may feel it right to continue with us (BRUK) or this second project.


For just over 3 years we used Global Giving to help us with our projects. Barry Evetts started this when we had a project, to which the link below refers, to send books to Rwanda on behalf of a local Westward Ho! based charity - The David Rundle Trust.

That project was completed and we started our second ‘literacy’ project ‘Helping with Literacy in UK Prisons’ through the Global Giving fundraising website. Now we are administering this project ourselves (because GG took 15% of the funds raised) and concentrating on the three local Devon prisons.

So our involvement is with the libraries and librarians of Exeter, Channings Wood and Dartmoor prisons. We have sent small financial donations, established working links with the librarians and have been looking for and sending the books they requested.


Doorstep Library exists to help as many of these vulnerable families as we can. We believe in the power of words to take children places, not just in their imagination, but in their lives. We want to see a world where all children can thrive in homes in which books are celebrated and a love of reading is embraced.

Here, how well you read has a direct bearing on how well you do in life. For various reasons, children from the poorest families are less likely to have books, less likely to read with their parents and less likely to read for pleasure. Not only are they more likely to fall behind in their studies as a result, they fall behind in their lives. Amongst developed nations, it is the UK that shows the clearest link between poor literacy and unemployment. For most youngsters there is no way back, because much of what support there is doesn’t reach its target. We leave our most vulnerable children behind.



At Book Relief UK we work with, partner with and support a number of other literacy charities who have similar aims to ours. You can find out more about them by clicking on to the various links on the left:


GlobalGiving vetted Organization 2015

Using this badge, we can share with the world that Book Relief UK has been vetted by GlobalGiving and was actively engaged on our site in 2015!

Reading Matters Logo

Reading Matters: Bradford-based Reading Matters is another literacy charity that specialises in one-to-one support to motivate young people to reach their full potential by becoming confident and enthusiastic readers. BookReliefUK use the services of Reading Matters to deliver training for our 'Literacy and Reading for Young People in Local Schools' project.



Book-cycle Logo

Book-Cycle: a volunteer-run charity which seeks to empower communities in the UK and overseas by promoting free books and educational resources. Under our Books Overseas Programme, Book Relief UK partners with Book-Cycle to sent educational and reading books to schools, colleges and libraries in developing countries.



Reading Matters Logo

The National Literacy Trust campaigns to improve public understanding of literacy and provides excellent information and resources on its website.

Book Aid

Book Aid - John (Chair of Trustees) has been involved with them since before he retired and Book Relief now supports them by sending our surplus religious (mainly Christian) books. They collect the around every 3 months from John’s ship container storage in Torrington.

Project Pearls

Our Mission is to help the poorest of the poor children in the Philippines have a better life through education, empowerment, nutrition, healthcare services.
Giving Peace, Education, Aspiration, Respect, Love, and Smiles or PEARLS is our foremost advocacy.

Shannon Trust

Shannon Trust is a national charity supporting thousands of prisoners a year to transform their lives by unlocking the power of reading. We inspire and train prisoners who can read to teach prisoners who can’t.

Our Shop

Shop Opening Times:

Monday - Saturday: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Address: 48 Mill Street, Bideford, Devon EX39 2JR

Shop Window

Shop Window


Barry's Legacy to Book Relief UK


One man’s love of books has left a lasting legacy in North Devon. Barry Evetts, who died of cancer aged 70 in December 2014, was a keen reader, writer and advocate of books, and set up the charity BookRelief UK in 2006. The charity is working to promote and advance literacy standards both locally and in developing countries.


In a final gift to the charity he loved, friends and family rallied around at Barry’s funeral to raise more than £200 for the cause.


Brenda, his wife of 44 years, said: “Like me, Barry was an only child, and when he was growing up, books were his friends.


“He was very dedicated and very much believed the idea that reading was the key to life.”


With its new shop in Bideford enjoying a bustling trade, BookRelief UK is hoping to start work on a new project working on literature in prisons.


Chairman John Carvosso said: “It was Barry’s idea before he died and now we want to carry it on and make sure it happens.”


As well as his charity work, Barry wrote his own novel and was also involved in the setting up of Appledore Book Festival and the campaign to save Northam library from closure.


Before settling in Northam, the father-of-two enjoyed a long career as a ship broker, living in his homeland New Zealand as well as Australia, Hong Kong and Panama.





John Carvosso and Brenda Evetts
John Carvosso and Brenda Evetts



   Address: 48 Mill Street, Bideford, Devon EX39 2JR
   Email: chairman@bookreliefuk.co.uk
   Website: www.bookreliefuk.co.uk 
   Phone: 01237_470600







Registered Charity No: (England & Wales) 1134724