Thanks to continuation funding from BBC Children in Need, national charity The Reader has secured an extension to its Reading Heroes project which stimulates children’s imagination and improves their confidence. More looked-after children across the Liverpool City Region will now have the opportunity to enjoy weekly ‘reading for pleasure’ sessions with a Reader-trained volunteer.
From January 2019, the charity will match children with volunteers for six months of one-to-one sessions, after which the children will be offered an opportunity to join a Shared Reading group in their local community. The Reader’s Shared Reading groups, also led by trained volunteers, bring great books, poems and plays to life through live reading aloud and group discussion.
The Reader’s founder and director Jane Davis said: “We are thrilled that BBC Children in Need has awarded funding for another three years of our Reading Heroes campaign. The need is real, there are nearly 2,500 looked-after-children across the Liverpool City Region, but thanks to the dedication and passion of our brilliant volunteers we are able to make a real difference for the children we read with.
“We know from UNESCO that ‘reading for pleasure is the single most important thing that will make a child successful in life’. This is at the core of all our work, whether it’s our outreach work with families, our immersive sessions in schools or at The Storybarn, our imaginative play space dedicated to sharing the delights of reading.”
Elizabeth Myers, Regional Head North, BBC Children in Need said: “We’re always delighted to award new funding to projects like The Reader in Liverpool. Over the coming months, the project will use the funding to support disadvantaged children and young people in the local community and make a tangible and lasting difference to their lives.”
A local children’s home worker explained: “Sometimes, looked-after young people can have quite a hectic week, with lots of things going on around them. It’s important for children to have some one-to-one time dedicated to relaxing and enjoying an activity with a grown-up, who has time set aside just for them. One-to-one reading is ideal.”
A foster carer in Liverpool said: “Since the Reading Heroes’ first visit, each child has grown in courage and confidence, not to mention enthusiasm and, at times, a healthy level of debate when it comes to who gets to read that particular day! It has complemented what is done at home and at school, and has played a huge part in how much the children have adapted to the changes that have been made in their lives both physically but more so emotionally. It has helped to give them the right to be carefree; a right that every child deserves.”
The Reader is actively calling for volunteers to support the project in the Liverpool, Sefton, Knowsley and St. Helens areas. To get involved visit www.thereader.org.uk/volunteer to register for more information.