Funding milestone for Beanstalk reading campaign

Sharon Allen with Katie Wayland
Sharon Allen with Katie Wayland
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Donations totalling £20,000 have now been raised as part of the Get Northants Reading campaign.

Literacy charity Beanstalk and the Telegraph are working in partnership to try to reduce the number of schoolchildren who reach the end of their time in primary school without the ability to read satisfactorily.

Northamptonshire is ranked as one of the worst counties in Britain for the problem.

But the campaign has now raised £20,000, something which has pleased Beanstalk officials.

Experts say poor literacy levels among youngsters lead to a greater risk of getting into trouble with the law and having difficulty finding employment once they reach adulthood.

But Beanstalk, which also wants to double the number of volunteers in the county who go into primary school and give children one-on-one help with their reading, says the generosity of people in the county will help to make a difference.

Since the Get Northants Reading campaign started in April, about 50 people in the county have put their names forward to be voluntary reading helpers.

Steve Hawe, the director of fundraising at Beanstalk, said the charity did not have a specific fundraising target in mind when the Get Northants Reading campaign was launched, but that they were pleased with the response they have had.

Mr Hawe said: “We are really pleased we have been able to raise £20,000.

“It’s fantastic.

“From the fundraising side of things, we have had two charitable trusts supporting the campaign, a company – Ensafe – and Northamptonshire County Cricket Club as well.

“I know the rugby club [Northampton Saints] will be doing something once their season starts.

“We would encourage more local trusts, businesses, individuals, Rotary Clubs and other organisations to come forward to make a difference.

“You can help support the campaign by making a donation towards Beanstalk’s work or by fundraising on our behalf – it costs £322 to provide support to one child for one year, just 88 pence a day.”

Meanwhile, the mayors of Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough were among local dignitaries who attended a party at the County Ground in Northampton on Wednesday to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Beanstalk’s branch in Northamptonshire.

They joined supporters of the charity and volunteers past and present at the celebrations.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer reading helper, you can email northamptonshire@beanstalkcharity.org.uk.

You can also call Christine Thomas on 01604 720969 or 0845 4500338.

More information is available at www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk.