Children’s literacy support charity seeking new reading volunteers in Shrewsbury

The Shropshire branch of a national charity that enables primary school children to gain confidence from improved literacy is looking to recruit new volunteer readers for the academic year starting in September.

Beanstalk, formerly known as Volunteer Reading Help, was originally founded in 1973 by Susan Belgrave MBE. Established in 1999, the Shropshire area office is one of 17 in the UK and currently provides 130 volunteers of all ages to 55 primary schools throughout the county.

The volunteers all go through the same application process. Apart from being competent readers, they also are vetted using a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check and trained under Beanstalk’s committed-to-safeguarding policy. Once approved, they each offer up to three children from year one to year six, fun and informative one-to-one reading support, two afternoons per week, for a minimum of one academic year.

Alison Horton, area relationship executive at Beanstalk Shropshire, said: “A fantastic 87 percent of Shropshire primary school children achieved level four in their reading SATS in 2013¹. However, it’s the 13 per cent we want to help. There are a number of reasons they may have fallen behind and we hope by offering volunteers who are passionate and enthusiastic about reading will inspire the children to succeed. South Shropshire, Telford and districts of Shrewsbury are areas of the county in particular, where we require new volunteers.”

John Orford is a retired IT manager who joined Beanstalk as a reading volunteer earlier this year. He said: “My wife and I taught our own children and contributed to our grandchildren’s reading, so I knew the work I could do with youngsters at reception class level who view it as their twice-weekly treat, would be very rewarding. And it is! If someone likes children and is looking for a challenge then I would wholeheartedly recommend becoming a volunteer reader.” 

Beanstalk Shropshire will be holding interviews and drop-in informal discussion sessions for potential volunteers between 10am and 2pm at the following venues during August:
Madeley Library, Tuesday 19th
Shrewsbury Library, Thursday 21st.

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Pete White Pete White

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