Cyclist delivers books to homeless and vulnerable throughout lockdown
- Credit: Emdad Rahman
A community hero has combined his love of cycling and reading for a project to deliver books to homeless and vulnerable people across Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham.
Emdad Rahman, a school attendance officer from Barking, started the social enterprise project BookBikeLondon a year ago when he was volunteering for the homeless and came across numerous people who were isolated who didn't have access to good books to keep themselves entertained.
As a bit of a book nerd himself Emdad put out a call on social media for any donations that he could deliver to happy readers in homes, homeless shelters, schools, and care homes.
During the initial lockdown the books have been a relief to some people who are shielding and he would drop them off along with food parcels, supplies and their prescriptions if necessary.
Emdad told the Recorder: "The pleasure I get from sharing these books is really infectious and it's also been great for my own wellbeing."
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During the first lockdown he found elderly people would particularly request word searches so he asked for donations of those and he expects the same thing to happen in the current lockdown. Classics are also popular, along with books from JW Rowling and Stephen King - It and The Dark Half are Emdad's personal favourites.
He admitted: "Sometimes if someone donates a good book I might have a cheeky quick read of it before delivering it. That's the essence of a good book, isn't it? One you just can't help but read?"
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To keep safe he puts the books through people's letterboxes or will leave them by the door and get out as soon as he can for his own safety as well, which sometimes causes some worry from nosy neighbours.
"Sometimes people see me and wonder if something dodgy is going on but then after they talk to their neighbour and see how much the books have helped them they're friendly with me the next time I go round."
If you would like to donate up to 10 books Emdad can pick up or are interested in getting a delivery yourself, you can get him touch with him on twitter @emdad07