On 8 September Coram Beanstalk reading helpers across the country were able to celebrate the power of reading for pleasure and our 50th birthday at a London venue and online everywhere, via a livestream link.

The event was opened by Carol Homden, CEO of Coram and Amy Lewis, Head of Coram Beanstalk who thanked every single reading helper volunteer who has supported almost 250,000 children to become confident readers since 1973! 

Guests were treated to exceptional talks from Debbie Thomas, Lecturer in Reading for Pleasure with the Open University's RfP team; Lynne Gavin, ex-headteacher at Pakeman Primary in Islington and Jared Brading, Executive Head of St Mary's RC and Scared Heart primaries in Battersea. 


In the afternoon Harriet Gill, Coram's Managing Director of Education and Wellbeing spoke about Coram Beanstalk's impact within the Coram education division and then Jill Pay, Chair of Trustees chaired a panel discussion with Rebecca Pedelty-Cox, Coram Beanstalk's Learning and Development Manager, Jo Clarke, Primary school librarian and children's author and Chris Callaghan, children's author and former Coram Beanstalk reading helper.

And finally, we were most fortunate to have been joined by the High Sheriff of Greater London, Ina De, who presented certificates of recognition to reading helpers who have been volunteering with us for over 3 years, over 5 years, over 10 years and over 15 years! And of course there was a celebration cake to mark the occasion.

In spite of the unseasonably hot weather for the time of year, the assembled guests were happy to be able to meet with other reading helpers, chat to staff and pick up a few extra books to take away.

"Our first hybrid event was a huge success, the energy in the room came through on screen. The live stream allowed reading helpers from Durham to Dover to hear the speakers and learn more about our approach, whilst our in room audience performed a fabulous 'Good morning' to open the event!"

Amy Lewis, Head of Coram Beanstalk

*Technical support to live stream the event was provided by Kinura who support our work at Coram.
**The cake was made by the partner of the Deputy Head at one of our Coram Beanstalk partner schools in London.