National children’s charity Beanstalk has launched a new project in Kent and Medway with the aim of doubling the number of children supported by trained volunteer helpers in primary schools by the end of the 2018-19 academic year.
It launched its ‘Read and Achieve’ project at Mote House in Maidstone to local schools and education leaders, explaining how it will help tackle children’s illiteracy across the county.
The project is being largely funded by a £60,000 donation from the Kent Community Foundation, the organisation chosen as his nominated charity by KCC Chairman David Brazier, who was present at the launch.
The foundation connects generous individuals, families and businesses with local causes that make a genuine difference in the community. For this project, funds have been donated by the Crown Charitable Fund and the Amity Fund, both administered by KCF.
“Read and achieve” will identify and work with primary schools in areas of Kent and Medway where reading levels are at their lowest among children aged 4-11. The aim is to recruit an additional 360 volunteer reading helpers, taking the number of children supported in Kent and Medway to over 2,000 by the end of the academic year 2018-19.
Speaking at the launch, Malou Bengtsson-Wheeler, area manager for Beanstalk South East, said: “Over the last 25 years that Beanstalk has been working with schools in the county, we have achieved a great deal. However, there are still so many children who find reading a challenge and we need to ensure they leave primary school with the best possible chances of leading successful lives.”
Beanstalk is now urging volunteers to come forward from all areas of Kent and Medway to help read with children in schools for just three hours a week.
“As a Beanstalk reading helper you will be trained by us and will have access to our fantastic resources to help pass on your love of reading to help a child read, grow and thrive,” said Malou.
“We are also currently reaching out to primary schools to sign up to the project and urge headteachers to get in contact with us if they would like their school to benefit from this new programme.
“Beanstalk provides trained reading helpers who each support three children, twice a week for a year and ultimately promote reading for pleasure to children who have fallen behind.”
KCC Chairman David Brazier said: “I was delighted to be present at this launch and to hear at first hand all about Beanstalk’s very important work.”