Read Easy UK is a volunteer organisation that recruits and trains volunteers to teach adults with low reading skills to read on a one-to-one basis. By helping people to tackle their reading difficulties, it is hoped that they will also grow in confidence and self-esteem, become more independent, move on to other forms of education and improve their employment opportunities.
Read Easy Solihull is an affiliated member of Read Easy UK, and is supported by literacy specialists both regionally and nationally. Established as a group in November 2016, Read Easy Solihull have just completed their first year, which has been very successful. They have a committee of 6 volunteers who work with a Co-ordinator who is responsible for recruiting coaches and arranging their training. The Co-ordinator also deals with reader referrals and with the support of a Literacy Specialist, pairs the readers with the trained coaches and regularly monitors their progress.
In their first year, the funding received enabled the group to train 10 coaches, and provide 9 readers with resources to start their reading journeys. At present, 7 coaches are actively paired with 8 readers all at various stages of progress. The grant of £2500 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation will enable the group to train further volunteers – it costs £50 to train a volunteer coach and approximately £140 to help one adult to learn to read. The aim is to have 18-20 coaches and readers paired in the first half of this year, and in the second half of the year, they anticipate taking on 10 more coaches and a second Co-ordinator to manage them with another 10 readers. A challenging aim but for this group, led by an enthusiastic Chair, committed Co-ordinator and Coaches and a supportive management committee, it is highly achievable with sufficient funding.
The Warwickshire Masonic Charitable Association has added to the donation by the MCF, and it is understood that the Province of Worcestershire are also supporting the group.
The MCF certificate of funding was presented to Mrs Deborah Chard (Co-Ordinator) and Mrs Lynn Wilson (Chair) in the centre, receiving the certificate outside the Solihull Central Library from John Hayward, Charity Steward for the Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire. The Library is where much of the tuition takes place.
A reading group is shown below receiving training in the Solihull Library in the centre of the town.
The Solihull group and the charity as a whole is finding there is a huge level of interest in the program offered throughout the West Midlands area. Interest has also been shown in Worcestershire and Staffordshire for a similar group development. Read Easy UK is a recently established charity which is finding a great deal of demand for its services in many areas of the UK. The group’s website is here which will also link to the Read Easy UK website.