Charity receives funding for one-to-one reading in Kent primaries

    National children’s charity Beanstalk has received a cheque for £60,000 to further
    their work in getting more county primary school children reading with confidence.

    BEANSTALK is a children’s reading charity which aims to raise literacy levels across the county’s primary schools recruiting, vetting and training volunteer reading helpers to provide one-to-one support to approximately 1,000 children across Kent and Medway.

    Last month it was presented with a cheque for £60,000 from the Kent Community Foundation – a philanthropic organisation which connects generous people, families and businesses with local causes that make a difference in the community

    The money will fund the ‘Read and Achieve’ project, which will identify and work with primary schools in areas where reading levels are at their lowest among children aged 4-11. The ambition is to recruit an additional 360 volunteer reading helpers, taking the number of Kent children supported to over 2,000 by the end of the academic year 2018-19.

    A Beanstalk spokesperson said: “Child illiteracy continues to be a persistent problem both nationally and locally. In Kent, 39 per cent of children did not reach the expected standard in reading in the new SATS exams [2015-16].

    “We work to help tackle this issue by providing trained reading helpers in local primary schools. Each volunteer supports three children and sees each child for two 30-minute sessions a week during term-time for at least one academic year. With Beanstalk’s support, the child’s approach to learning and enjoyment of reading is transformed.”

    Malou Bengtsson-Wheeler, Area Manager of Beanstalk South East, added: “We are incredibly grateful to the Kent Community Foundation and its funders for awarding us this grant.

    “Their generous donations will enable so many more children to receive one-to-one support across Kent and Medway, helping to improve confidence and attitudes to reading and smoothing the transition to secondary school.”

    “Without intervention, the outlook for children struggling with reading is very worrying. It can lead to all sorts of behavioural problems and can affect their future prospects in life and work.

    “Our challenge is to ensure that every child leaves school with the skills and confidence to reach their true potential and control their own lives.”