Help to spread your love of reading

Children enjoying the picnic at Northants CCC. Picture by Andrew Kearns

Children enjoying the picnic at Northants CCC. Picture by Andrew Kearns

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A charity which is hoping to improve Northamptonshire’s poor literacy levels has made another push for more help.

Beanstalk, which has joined forces with the Telegraph in the Get Northants Reading campaign, wants to double the number of volunteers who are giving up their time to provide support to children, but says it needs more funding to fulfil its ambition.

The county’s sports clubs are among those organisations already heavily involved in the campaign, with the Northampton Saints to hold a match day collection at Franklin’s Gardens next season.

Meanwhile, Northants County Cricket Club held a teddy bears’ picnic on Monday, with a special reading area, complete with gazebo and blankets, where children could sit and read.

Further events take place at matches at the County Ground on July 17 and July 30.

Figures released by Beanstalk show nearly 1,300 children in Northamptonshire left primary school last year unable to read at the required level, with the problem affecting one in five boys.

And the charity has pointed out an estimated one in four young offenders has reading skills below that of the average seven-year-old child.

They say those statistics show how cost-effective their work is, with one-to-one support costing just 88p for each child per day compared with an estimated cost of £95 a day to keep somebody in prison.

One of the volunteers is keen to encourage others to sign up to the scheme.

Doreen Willis, who helps at Kettering Buccleuch Academy, said: “If anyone comes forward, they will really enjoy it.

“It’s very rewarding and very enjoyable.”

If your organisation would like to support Get Northants Reading’s charity partner Beanstalk by raising funds or making a donation, please contact Liz Bennett on 020 7749 7972 for more information.

To find out how to become a Beanstalk reading helper or how your school can benefit from their support please contact Christine Thomas, volunteer services manager, on 0845 450 0338 / 01604 720 969 or email northamptonshire@beanstalkcharity.org.uk