About Literacy Volunteers

What we do

Our primary service revolves around the provision of a primary school based reading volunteer scheme – these are our Literacy Volunteers.  Literacy Volunteers help children to enjoy reading, learn to love books and read for pleasure.  Our Volunteers go into an allocated school once a week during term time and talk, read and play games with selected children on a one-to-one basis.

Literacy Volunteers are not teachers, and do not take the place of teachers.  Instead, they take an interest in the children.  They give their time to build up children’s confidence and help them to discover that reading is fun.

We also design and deploy early intervention projects aimed at pre-school children, mainly in economically disadvantaged areas of Nottingham City, under our Early Years programme.

Why is it important

  • We have established a network of over 120 Volunteers who work in schools based in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire
  • The Charity helps children overcome literacy challenges and nurture a love of reading and develop their communication and social skills
  • The Charity is managed on a low budget, employing 5 part time staff and relies on the generous support of volunteers and donors
  • Illiteracy has serious long term societal implications
  • A report from the Shannon Trust (2021) estimates that 50% of the UK’s prison population are “functionally illiterate”
  • A person who cannot read and write struggles to know their rights, to vote, to find work, to pay bills and to secure housing
  • People with literacy challenges may have low self-esteem or feel emotions such as shame, fear and powerlessness, which can often lead to isolation
  • Only 54% of pupils in Nottingham and 59% in Nottinghamshire reached expected levels in literacy at key stage 2 in 2022 (Department of Education report)
  • We carry out amazing work in schools and the wider community to open up opportunities for children to succeed in life

Our Impact on Schools

  • Our 120 Volunteers support approximately 600 children every week
  • Feedback from our schools confirm how important our Volunteers one to one help with a child improves their literacy and communication skills.
  • Not only does the intervention support reading progress, it also helps children’s mental health and attitudes to learning. The children have an opportunity to build a relationship with the Volunteer, which in turn helps confidence and motivation. Some schools have found it helps with attendance as children enjoy their individual sessions so much they want to come to school.

Our impact on Early Years

  • We supported over 130 children aged 0-4 ,and their parents/carers in 2022
  • 100% of families attending rated the groups as ‘excellent’ for helping their children learn new words from stories and rhymes, and reported they now felt more confident and enjoyed sharing a story with their children more (Autumn/Winter parent/carer survey 2022)

Read more about our impact by clicking on ‘Impact’ on the right sidebar menu

How we use our income

We have a small staff team of 5 part time workers, and we use our funding to:

  • Recruit and vet new Volunteers
  • Develop and deliver training programmes for all new volunteers
  • Place Volunteers with schools and provide ongoing coordination services and support
  • Develop and present Early Years activities in the community
  • Carry out all compliance and regulatory tasks such as safeguarding, GDPR, finance etc.
  • Manage fundraising activities