The Kittiwake Trust was set up as a community organisation in Gateshead in 2009. It became a CIO on 26 January 2016 with Charity number 1165318. Its sister organisation the Kittiwake Stichting was set up in the Netherlands in 2004. The two organisations are entirely independent of each other apart from sharing one trustee each and the symbolism of the Kittiwake.
The Kittiwake was chosen because it spends most of the year at sea and comes to land for the breeding season. Even then, it stays on the cliffs and coastal areas – on the margins of society, much like the majority of those we support.
The original project of the Kittiwake Trust is Borderline Books. In 2015, we also opened the Kittiwake Trust Multilingual Library in Newcastle upon Tyne.
The aims of the Kittiwake Trust are to enhance education in the broadest sense of the word – in this way we can develop new projects as the need arises, without needing to set up a new charity.
We currently run all our projects in empty commercial properties which keeps costs manageable, but of course it means that we could need to move at any time.... so we live in a similar situation of uncertainty as many of the people we work to support.
For well over a year we have been giving books to prison libraries and education departments. About one year ago we also began giving books to custody suites, and this year we have begun sending books direct to people in prison. In all cases the books have met with very positive reactions. - the letters we receive from prisoners and some of the librarians prove that books, and some contact with the outside make a gigantic difference to the way people feel.